Hulu's Unsettled Future; FCC Looks Into Comcast Net Neutrality Row

Hi folks,

Welcome to Wednesday’s VideoDaily Roundup. Today we'll look at:   


-Hulu's future ahead of its first-ever upfront   

-The FCC's watch over anti-Net neutrality practices at Comcast   

-Brightcove's launch of a new video paywall solution   

-A survey indicating that more than a third of U.S. households report that they have Connected TVs   

-Nissan's new video series for the DeltaWing racing car


Hulu’s Future Still Uncertain

The New York Times paints an uncertain future for Hulu, the streaming video service that is a joint venture from many of television’s most powerful companies, as it prepares for its first-ever upfront. As SVP of content Andy Forssell admits: “The bulk of our business is working with those big media companies, and they’re going to make choices based on how they see the whole ecosystem evolving.” Hulu is essentially at the mercy of its owners, who are still trying to figure out how best to reach consumers wherever they are -- and getting them to agree is proving to be rather difficult.



For example, the Times cites a disagreement among the Hulu board “about the amount of investment necessary” to acquire more content for its popular subscription service, Hulu Plus. Its owners may say they are committed to Hulu for now, but they did try to sell the company just last summer. According to the report, one of the stakeholders -- Providence Equity -- is thinking about unfolding its stake, which would force the owners to buy them out. 

Hastings’ Comcast Post Draws in FCC

In a Facebook post on Monday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings accused Internet and cable TV provider Comcast of giving favorable treatment to users of its Xfinity triple-play service when they connect to the Web via the Xfinity app on their Xbox 360 or PS3 console. He claimed that watching video on Netflix or Hulu through his Xbox 360 would count against the monthly data cap imposed by Comcast, while use of the Xfinity app does not. Well, The Wall Street Journal notes that the FCC is now monitoring the situation.

But the Journal also points out that the issue may not be as simple as Hastings makes it seem. From Comcast’s perspective, Xfinity video gets to consumers' homes through a private, managed network, while Netflix and Hulu content travels over the public Internet. Currently, the FCC allows for IPSs to treat traffic moving over their private networks differently than traffic on public networks, but it has also pointed out the risks to the open Internet in allowing this distinction. It may yet revisit its stance.

Brightcove Bows Video Paywall Solution

At the National Association of Broadcasters meeting yesterday, Brightcove took the lid off its new “Video Paywall Solution Framework,” which the company claims will simplify the integration and processing of payment and authentication technologies for online video. As the video platform provider notes in its press release, publishers that want to offer paid access to their video content have struggled to bring together the required technologies to make that happen -- particularly across devices.

The Video Paywall solution adds the following services to the Brightcove Video Cloud platform: subscription management (including registration and authentication, which controls user access to content); payment processing; cross-platform digital rights management (or DRM, which refers to adhering to rights and licensing agreements across devices and platforms); and content protection technologies like Adobe Flash Access, Google Widevine, PayWizard, and TinyPass.

Survey: More Than a Third of Households Have at Least One TV Connected to the Web

No -- your eyes are not deceiving you: fully 38 percent of homes in the U.S. have at least one television that is connected to the Internet. But that doesn’t mean these homes have Smart or Connected TVs. Rather, the vast majority of these televisions are connected to the Web through an Xbox 360 or PS3 console. In fact, only 4 percent of the homes queried by the Leichtman Research Group survey reported having a Connected or Smart TV, and only 1 percent connect their television through an Apple TV or Roku box.

Even so, the survey found that 16 percent of adults watch full-length TV shows online at least once a week, and 13 percent of adults watch online video through a connected device at least once a week. As you might imagine, Netflix subscribers represent much of this usage; 35 percent of Netflix subscribers watch video from the Web via a connected device at least once a week.

Nissan Debuts Promotional Video Series for Racing Car

Here’s yet another example of a marketer producing original video content as part of a brand campaign: Nissan Motor Co. is using a video series to promote the new DeltaWing racing car that it is both sponsoring and helping to design. The DeltaWing will make its debut at the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours in June. According to The Wall Street Journal, the series will showcase the making of the racing car and will include an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at all the testing and tinkering leading up to the DeltaWing’s debut. New episodes will launch every two weeks between now and the Le Mans race. The videos will follow a similar documentary approach that Nissan used to introduce its SUV, the Juke-R, last year.

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