In the news, Hulu asks Boxee to remove Hulu from Boxee and Boxee complies with Hulu’s request. If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any time, you know what a fan I am of Boxee and have written more than a few pieces about how Hulu (and the ad-supported streaming model as a whole) has been doomed from the start.
Today’s news only goes to prove my point.
Throw in a dash of the “power of syndication” stuff and, friends, we have something to learn from this petty bickering.
Now, the snarky would say that Hulu (really) doesn’t want people to watch television on their tvs, but on the Web. They would continue to say that Boxee makes it too easy, and that’s why they killed it. But, they’d be forgetting something … Hulu has also removed their content from TV.com today. TV.com makes most of us want to return to broadcast television so that ain’t the point.
Hulu wants control, Hulu wants ownership. They want us watching their content on their terms.
That’s not Web 2.0, that’s Web 1.0.
As a reminder: Web 1.0 is the Internet on the producer’s terms. Web 2.0 is the Internet on the audience’s terms.
8 out of 9 people who read PaulColligan.com content don’t read it on PaulColligan.com. I like that. It gives me reach I could have only dreamed of a few years ago. It’s making me money. More and more people aren’t consuming Hulu.com content on Hulu.com. That has Hulu.com freaking out.
Let’s be honest here: If Hulu.com was making money (excuse me, profit) streaming Dollhouse in HD with remnant advertising from the Ad Council, they’d be streaming it any which way they can. But they aren’t making money (profit) from this. And they won’t make money (profit) from this for a long time. As cool as Hulu is (and I luvs me the Hulu), the model is flawed in so many ways.
Which means, like all good Internet properties that aren’t making a profit, they have to focus on being a “destination” or “portal” that you hope to sell to someone some day. Of course, the owners of Hulu.com won’t be selling it so, … the “destination” lie is their only, really, viable option.
Hulu did a lot of things “right.” The embed options launched a whole bunch of viral goodness and they’ve quickly become a destination and a source. Sure, they’re still losing money, but they’re doing it in bigger numbers now – so we can pay them more attention.
Being a source makes them no money and gets them no unique visitors. Remember, they’re losing money on each and every stream (I dare you to prove me otherwise) – so losing money on a stream on Boxee’s box just doesn’t make “sense” to a Web 1.0 or 2.0 model.
So, they told Boxee to stop.
And they told TV.com to stop.
And they’ll continue to lose money.
And TV will continue to get worse.
And New Media will continue to fill the holes created by old media.
And I’ll either set the EyeTV to tape Dollhouse or I might buy a wireless keyboard with a mouse to run Hulu from directly – annoyed at this property every time I do.
Take that to your shareholders.
As a side note, one must contrast what Hulu is doing to what Revision3 is doing. One wants you on their terms – the other is thrilled to have you on your terms.
Which one do you think will “win” in the end?