Will Somebody Please Explain The Model Here?

Sunday night was the new 24 telemovie. I pondered recording it but I knew it would probably be on Hulu (via Boxee thank you very much) in under 24 hours (pun intended).

And it was.

And I enjoyed it while doing a little work Monday night. Nothing like streaming television, on your terms, with just a commercial per break.

This new media thing is starting to “take off.”

iTunes is offering the download of the 24 telemovie for $14.99 ($19.99 if you want HD).

Mind you, this is the same iTunes that sells 24 Episodes at $1.99 each. This was two episodes of 24. This normally retails for $3.98.

The DVD is $15.99 at Amazon and Best Buy.

The Amazon Video On Demand Service is selling it for $9.99.

When I watched it (again, less than 24 hours after it aired), I noted that not only were there PSAs in a few of the commercial slots (btw, Hulu doesn’t get paid for PSAs, that’s what PSAs are), but a few of the commercial slots were, well commercial less. It was liking watching the DVD.

And by the way, the commercials they did show were for an online project that started last September. I’ll bet you this is remnant advertising purchased extremely cheap.

In short, The $15 DVD is being streamed for free. Yes, I know the DVD contains a bunch of extra stuff (hey who doesn’t want cut video of Jack Bauer running around in the forest?). Yes, I realize there are DVD sales as a piece of the revenue pie but so is that whole advertising model that Hulu can’t seem to make work.

If you’re reading this in America (or have some clever proxies in place), you can enjoy the show embedded below (how many paying commercials to you count in this $15 DVD):

Hulu can’t be making anyone money.

I appreciate their desire to have a single commercial per break and I’ll enjoy the ride as long as it goes here but … streaming ain’t cheap (they’re evening doing it in HD now) and they’ve got nothing to show me that they have a long term plan – or that advertisers are actually buying into this. See, when advertisers “buy into” a concept, you see their add “buys” – that’s where the term comes from. You’ll see an occasional product on Hulu and there are some $$ coming in but getting me what I want on my terms is costing them less than they’re making in the deal.

There seems to be a really silly obsession with streaming at all costs. It’s expensive, bandwidth intensive, and darn it, isn’t making the sales they keep promising it will.

Downloads, not streaming, is the future of media delivery. It’s cheaper – much cheaper – and always ends with a better experience (for the customer at least).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

But then again, they’re giving CEOs bailouts for making much dumber moves.

If we want to get anywhere in this industry, we need to do what makes sense, not what’s sexy.

Or are we all just waiting for the bailout?

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