Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Gavin O'Malley, May 1, 2012, 11:47 AM
Hulu May Withhold Service From Certain UsersNew York Post

With the future of streaming media at stake, Hulu has reportedly considered withholding its services from non-paying TV customers.

“In fact, the move by Hulu toward the new model -- called authentication because viewers would have to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number -- was behind the move last week by Providence Equity Partners to cash out of Hulu after five years,” the New York Post reports, citing sources

“It's looking like the jig may be up for Hulu as we know it,” writes CNet. “It was (sorta) fun while it lasted,” writes parislemon blogger MG Siegler.

“The ‘alien plot’ that is Hulu (according to its whimsical commercials) may be taking a more nefarious turn,” ZDNet quips. “The reasoning … is obvious: The broadcasters make a lot more money from traditional TV viewership than people watching episodes online, where ads are fewer and cost less.”

“Hulu and its content providers have talked about this move toward authentication since 2009,” TechCrunch reports. However, “Our source noted that Hulu has no interest in being a first mover here and that a requirement for authentication is likely still a few years out.”

“It’s not just Hulu making it tougher for cable-cutters to stream shows and other content,” according to The Post. “Fox … is expected to begin talks soon with Comcast on a TV Everywhere deal that will require authentication,” while Comcast is reportedly planning to switch to an authentication model for this summer’s Olympic Games.

Ultimately, “Hulu … does want to be a good partner and may have to give in to its partners’ pressure soon or later,” TechCrunch adds, citing sources. What’s more, “What could happen relatively soon is that the content providers could require longer delays before their shows become available on the service for non-subscribers.”

And is all this happening because it’s more difficult or expensive to deliver TV to consumers?” GigaOm asks. “No. It’s actually cheaper and easier once TV moves to an IP system … But once this happens, if there are no artificially created barriers in place thanks to licensing deals … then consumers might go over the top and along the way distort the power structure and economics of the TV industry. And no one in the industry wants that.”

 

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  • Gavin O'Malley, May 1, 2012, 12:27 PM
  • No, despite reports by The Next Web, The Washington Post isn’t buying Digg, nor, as TechCrunch later reported, is the publisher buying the social news site’s full staff. WaPo is, however, hiring away -- or buying in bulk -- Digg’s technology team, AllThingsD reports, citing multiple sources. “The Post plans to put the new hires to work alongside the people who built the publisher’s Social Reader Facebook app,” according to AllThingsD. Remarkably, though, Digg’s remain management doesn’t see the development as a death blow. “Once the deal closes, Digg won’t shut down, at least not immediately,” AllThingsD reports. Rather, the once high-flying tech darling will try to figure out how to take advantage of its brand name and traffic, sources say. “Its current management team … has been gamely trying to broaden the site’s appeal by courting mainstream users.” Yet, “Given the fact that Digg has been looking for a buyer for months, it’s hard to see how they’ll be able to find another home for the remainder of the company,” AllThingsD adds.   Read the whole story...
  • Rumor has it that The Discovery Channel has been engaged in acquisition talks with online video programmer Revision3 for between $30 million to $40 million. That would put the deal in the range of what YouTube paid for rival video content company Next New Networks last year, TechCrunch points out. Word is that the acquisition could go down as soon as this week, but is Revision3 worth the investment? “ Seven years in, Revision3 and its stable of stars have more than survived the tough early days of building a video content business on the web,” TechCrunch notes. What’s more, “The San Francisco company is now bringing in a respectable 100 million video views per month, following a big 2011.” Revision3 reported ad-based revenue growth of 53% in 2011 -- while leaving the hard numbers to our imaginations. That year, meanwhile, video views skyrocketed by 359% to 800 million views. Over the same period, the company also grew its YouTube subscriber base to more than 4.5 million people, which represented a 400% annual gain. To date, Revision3 has raised $10 million in two rounds from Greylock Partners, with additional funding from Marc Andreessen and Mark Cuban.   Read the whole story...
  • Social media as lifesaver? It sounds like hyperbole or spin, but according to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is getting into the business of saving lives. Specifically, Facebook will let patients broadcast their need for organ transplants, and, thus, help eliminate the critical shortage of organs. “Facebook is really about communicating and telling stories,” Zuckerberg told ABC News in an exclusive interview. “We think that people can really help spread awareness of organ donation and that they want to participate in this to their friends. And that can be a big part of helping solve the crisis that’s out there. According to Zuckerberg, he arrived at the idea during dinner conversations with his med-student girlfriend, and was inspired by the experience of his friend and Apple founder Steve Jobs, whose life was extended by years following a liver transplant. Starting this week, users in the United States and U.K. will be able to add that they’re organ donors to their Timelines, and if they’re not organ donors, they can find links to official organ donation registries and instantly enroll, ABC News reports. “We want to make it simple,” said Zuckerberg. “You just put in the state or country that you’re from, so that we can help link you to the official registries.”   Read the whole story...