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Hulu Not For Sale, Time Warner May Join

timothy posted about a year ago | from the business-model-is-to-annoy-with-ads dept.

Businesses 48

HighOrbit writes "Engadget reports that the consortium behind Hulu have issued a press release and have taken Hulu off the market. The current owners will maintain their joint ownership of the video streaming service. Hulu is currently a joint project of Fox, Disney (ABC), and Comcast (NBC-Universal). Instead of selling off Hulu, the consortium will inject $750 Million to grow the streaming service. Slashdot previously reported possible buyers rumored to be Yahoo, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, and Chernin Group/AT&T. Additionally Bloomberg reports that Time Warner Cable is still interested and seeks to join the current consortium by acquiring a 25% stake."

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Cable companies... (4, Insightful)

loosescrews (1916996) | about a year ago | (#44276229)

Only cable companies would think that they can serve ads on a premium pay-for video streaming service.

Re:Cable companies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276365)

Just Americans getting the shaft again. In Japan Hulu Plus is 100% ad free. Plus we get some American shows you don't.

You guys need to wake up and stop letting your corporations take turns in shitting on you from a great height.

Re:Cable companies... (3, Informative)

OG (15008) | about a year ago | (#44276389)

It also costs more for the Japanese ad-free service. From what I can tell, it's a little under $20 in Japan. It's $8 in the US with ads. If they offered a $20 ad-free in the US, I'd still probably go for the cheaper service.

Re:Cable companies... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276581)

It also costs more for the Japanese ad-free service. From what I can tell, it's a little under $20 in Japan. From what I can tell, it's a little under $20 in Japan

From what you can tell? I'd love to know how you worked this out. It's less than half the figure you quoted.

Re:Cable companies... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44277481)

From what you can tell? I'd love to know how you worked this out. It's less than half the figure you quoted.

It was introduced at ~$19/month in Japan and was later reduced to ~$12/month.

Was it reduced below ~$12/month since then or are you talking out your ass?

Re:Cable companies... (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#44279509)

Simple math man, you take the last digit (9) and compare it to the last digit (2), and since 9>2*2, it's less than half. What do they teach you in school these days?

Re:Cable companies... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44280631)

Is this because the 1's cancel?

Re:Cable companies... (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#44281519)

It's because anything multiplied by 1 is anything.

Re:Cable companies... (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44278059)

I find it sad that there's a Hulu Japan before a Hulu Canada.

Re:Cable companies... (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#44278407)

Not unexpected. We are on the US's "Copyright Thieves of the World" list.

I still find it funny that they were trying to sell Hulu with the condition that the new owners not be able to stream new episodes.

It's like, "I'll sell you this car, but I need to keep the engine for myself."

Re:Cable companies... (3, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44276429)

No kidding. With big names like Comcast, Time Warner, Fox and Disney you KNOW every decision made will be brutally abusive of the customer. It's in their DNA.

Re:Cable companies... (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year ago | (#44281467)

Hulu is a living organism? Wow. :P

Re:Cable companies... (1)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year ago | (#44276439)

Only cable companies would think that they can serve ads on a premium pay-for video streaming service.

In what universe is 8$/month a "premium" service?

Re:Cable companies... (1)

Secret Agent Man (915574) | about a year ago | (#44276675)

If you're paying for it, you are, theoretically, paying for not having to see ads, and such. Premium is a very broad term.

Re:Cable companies... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#44277191)

Ours?

Re:Cable companies... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276559)

Most of the Streaming services offered out there - hboGO, TNT, Time Warner, ESPNsomethingorother require that you have the cable tv service with your provider. The idiots need to start selling it to the ISP users of the cabletv company too.

Re:Cable companies... (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44280457)

Especially when it's all free of cost and commercials on the internet. I'm not necessarily supporting, condoning, or endorsing things like eztv.it -- but when you're trying to shove tons of commercials, limited and mixed and inconsistent content restrictions on people, and making them pay for it to boot . . . you have to remember that you're competing with a service that offers exactly what people want without the commercials they don't want and at no cost only one click away.

Re:Cable companies... (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about a year ago | (#44296099)

What are you talking about? People pay for cable TV for years and we have ads on it lol. But yea that needs to go away since we're paying for it.

Yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276239)

At this point there's no...point in saying Yahoo is interested in buying $RANDOM_WEB_RELATED_BUSINESS, it's common knowledge.

I haven't used Hulu in 2 years (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44276255)

It is regular TV -- 3-4 commercials in multiple breaks. I can...and do, get that already on my normal TV and would rather fast forward thru them.

Selling means its dying because of this and they wanna get money out of it from some sucker.

Re:I haven't used Hulu in 2 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276291)

It is regular TV -- 3-4 commercials in multiple breaks. I can...and do, get that already on my normal TV and would rather fast forward thru them.

Selling means its dying because of this and they wanna get money out of it from some sucker.

Except that they aren't selling it, they're putting more money into it instead... You didn't have to even read TFA to see that.

Of course, adding more money into it will likely mean even more ads..

Re:I haven't used Hulu in 2 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276383)

It is regular TV -- 3-4 commercials in multiple breaks. I can...and do, get that already on my normal TV and would rather fast forward thru them.

Selling means its dying because of this and they wanna get money out of it from some sucker.

Except that they aren't selling it, they're putting more money into it instead... You didn't have to even read TFA to see that.

Of course, adding more money into it will likely mean even more ads..

Not necessarily - it depends on their strategy.

Hulu asks what ads are relevant to you. So, they're targeting folks who are actually interested in the ads and watching them (usually - I mark all ads as not relevant because I am not buying anything because I was canned when my job was sent overseas and have no money).

Knowing that your ad is being watched by someone who is actually in the market for your product is VERY valuable to a marketer. So, valuable that they'll pay a premium for it.

Also with less ads, people are more inclined to stick around and not go to the bathroom when they're playing. The ad break on Hulu is too short to go to the bathroom. So, again, premium ad space and theoretically, because they can charge more, they don't need as many.

Of course, if an old time media company - like a cable company - they'll probably screw that up because they don't understand that dynamic.

Re:I haven't used Hulu in 2 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276517)

Hulu asks what ads are relevant to you. So, they're targeting folks who are actually interested in the ads and watching them (usually - I mark all ads as not relevant because I am not buying anything because I was canned when my job was sent overseas and have no money).

Oh please, no-one is interested in watching ads.

Cost of a DVR (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44276403)

[I get ad breaks] already on my normal TV and would rather fast forward thru them.

How much does it cost you per month to be able to fast forward through TV? TiVo still owns DVR patents, and TiVo devices still require a service with a recurring fee.

Re:I haven't used Hulu in 2 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44280565)

Some of us don't have regular TV. I will take the ads. The alternatives are torrents and streaming sites. Torrents take several hours to show up, but so does Hulu. But you can't stream torrents, have to wait for them to finish. It's illegal. Also, you can get caught with torrents and your ISP doesn't like that. But they are often good quality. Streaming sites can get their content the same night. You can't really get caught using them. But, sometimes they are way too slow, and they have much worse quality/resolution. But, these streaming sites require Flash, so they don't work on your iPad, your BluRay, or anything else. Hulu Plus means high quality, legal, convienent, on-demand, access to shows on any device. That's worth $8 and the commercials. How much are you paying your cable company just for DVR service? I asked comcast, they wanted something like $17 a month just for HD DVR service on top of paying for channels. Yea, I will stick to Hulu Plus.

Re:I haven't used Hulu in 2 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44283465)

Almost everything you said about torrents is wrong or exaggerated. Torrents of popular shows generally take minutes after the episode ends to show up (Game of Thrones being the best example, every episode is up 10 minutes after conclusion of episode). Can't stream? Who cares, if you have 3.5Mbps DL or better, again it takes mere minutes to download even the HD version. (use private torrent sites, not places like TPB) ISP doesn't like it? Switch to the phone companies fiber service if you have Verizon or AT&T, they don't give a shit.

Don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276377)

it's got commercials. Not interested.

I'd LIKE to pay for some service that let me watch the few tv shows i want without commercials.

But so far that hasn't been an option since the 80's when cable rolled out in the beginning. Didn't last long either.

I'll stick to piracy thanks. nobody gets paid. and i get my commercial free shows.

Try Netflix (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44276407)

Assuming you're referring to Dice Holdings' home country:

I'd LIKE to pay for some service that let me watch the few tv shows i want without commercials.

Try Netflix. It's $16/mo, and whatever they don't have streaming, you can rent on discs.

Re:Try Netflix (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about a year ago | (#44276483)

I would frame that a different way. Netflix is $8 per month, produces original content now, and you can opt to pay more if you want to rent discs. We don't even have a DVD player in our living room any more.

Re:Try Netflix (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44280447)

For about a decade, I haven't had a DVR or a cable subscription or even over-the-air television. It just isn't worth the $100-$200/mo for what little content is actually worth watching. Netflix is a damn good deal. Hulu could be a good deal, if they did away with the commercials and were more consistent with the content they actually do have. If I have to go hunt around the internet to find the seasons you are missing on a show you yourself are providing, then your service has already failed.

Re:Try Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276499)

$16 a month to get OLD stuff. When the NEW stuff can be gotten for free?

Yeah. How about no.

How is TV "gotten for free"? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44276609)

Under the law, anything produced within the past 95 years is "new stuff". Besides, OTA TV can't be "gotten for free" unless you take time off work and/or change your sleep schedule to watch when a show is being broadcast or buy an old VHS deck and a DTV tuner to record the video. I don't see how a DVR counts as "gotten for free" when a TiVo DVR requires a service for which TiVo charges a recurring fee.

Re:How is TV "gotten for free"? (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about a year ago | (#44276905)

No, but with a HDhomerun and some PVR software such as MythTV, it's only a minimal fee. Or a one-time investment for a Channel Master DVR.

Channel Master and TiVo patents (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44279705)

No, but with a HDhomerun and some PVR software such as MythTV, it's only a minimal fee.

You'd first have to build a PC for your living room, and if comments like these [slashdot.org] are to be believed, not a lot of people are willing to do so.

Or a one-time investment for a Channel Master DVR.

Thank you for the recommendation. I wonder how they designed around TiVo's patents though.

Why Pay for Hulu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276409)

Hulu+, the premium subscription that still makes you watch ads. Incredible. Why???

Paying for Hulu+ is like paying to smell someone's farts.

Re:Why Pay for Hulu? (2)

jockm (233372) | about a year ago | (#44276451)

Now I am not condoning (or condemning, for that matter) Hulu, but I thought the point of Hulu+ was that you got access to extra shows, a larger backcatalog, and the ability to watch on devices. That is worth nothing to you? There are other (legal) ways to watch TV shows without commercials, some of which — like iTunes — will cost you much more.

So I can see a place in the market for what Hulu+ is offering

The alleged death of the PC (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44276551)

the ability to watch on devices

And this is one thing that the "nobody needs a PC anymore" tablet fanboys replying to the "death of the PC" story of the week seem to forget: a lot of video providers routinely block users of mobile operating systems from their service. I've seen it on other services as well: YouTube blocks a lot of videos that include music, Vimeo blocks videos whose uploader doesn't pay the recurring fee for Vimeo Plus, and Amazon blocks phones not made by Apple and tablets not made by Apple or Amazon.

Re:Why Pay for Hulu? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44280427)

Have you ever actually used Hulu? Their assortment of content is random as fuck. Most of the shows I have checked out do not have all of the episodes. They only have the new ones or they only have the old ones. Or they only have seasons 1, 4, and 5. It's ridiculous. It's pointless. And on top of that, they charge for it *and* cram more commercials down you than you'd get if you were dumb enough to still watch live broadcast television.

The headline is misleading (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44276415)

Time Warner, Time Warner Cable, Warner Music Group, and AOL are separate companies, despite formerly being part of one company. Time Warner owns the Turner channels (TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, etc.), half of The CW, and the channel that's the subject of Obligatory Oatmeal [theoatmeal.com] . There's a difference between TW joining and TWC joining: one is more likely to bring series made for Turner channels.

Re:The headline is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44281737)

Funny thing. If you have internet through Time Warner you cannot not watch most of Adultswim.com's videos. Even though Cartoon Network is owned by Time Warner, you need a Comcast or AT&T or Verizon account...Yay corporate back-room deals!
Oh and before someone replies with the "reasoning" behind that. Don't bother, it's on their website and it makes no sense at all.

Battle lines are being drawn (3, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year ago | (#44276459)

The cable companies are beginning to realize their model of providing a mix of premium and basic channels via their proprietary pipe is at risk from internet based providers and are setting themselves up for getting into the game. They have strong relationships with content providers they can leverage to bring what they now offer as cable as an ISP. Apple, and to a lesser extent, Google are who they fear. Apple because they have demonstrated they can deliver content independent of them and Google because they seem to be serious about becoming an ISP. While Google may be behind Apple's position technologically they certainly have the money and ability to create a similar infrastructure on a high speed backbone; or even partner with Apple. The cable companies cannot allow Apple or Google or both to make significant inroads into the premium channel delivery business since that would seriously cut into their revenue.

So cable companies are taking a two step approach:

1. Partner with web based content delivery companies such as Hulu and offer premium channels via the web for current subscribers through offerings such as HBOgo.

2. Institute bandwidth caps to limit the access, or raise the cost of, to web based services.

Re:Battle lines are being drawn (1)

CaptBubba (696284) | about a year ago | (#44278471)

I'm not saying that you are wrong (because you are not), but I imagine Google, Amazon, Apple, and Netflix all are just itching for the perfect fact pattern to nail an ISP to the wall for anti-competitive practices to scare straight the others.

It will be an interesting battle, but a ton of consumers will get caught in the crossfire.

Re:Battle lines are being drawn (1)

StormReaver (59959) | about a year ago | (#44279543)

2. Institute bandwidth caps to limit the access, or raise the cost of, to web based services.

Which is why, when Google enters a market serviced by cable companies, Google is going to destroy them.

Re:Battle lines are being drawn (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#44281829)

Next line in that song is "nobody's right ifeverybody's wrong".

Hulu is a mess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44278789)

In short, Hulu doesn't have any complete shows. Every time I got to Hulu, I wonder what idiot came up with the idea of having an incomplete set of episodes for television programs. I will never start watching a series on season 4 episode 9. I want to start on episode 1 season 1. Then, I want to continue through to the current episode. These idiots put commercials into the programs so presumably, having people watch the programs makes them money. So, why not put all of the episodes and make even more money. Instead, they drive away people who refuse to start watching a program in the middle.

Pure stupidity!!!

Hulu is total shit. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44280407)

I hope the company and service fucking go away, so we can start focusing on real content delivery solutions, instead of this trivial bullshit. Why the fuck would you pay $8/mo for a service that presents just as many (and sometimes more) commercials than you would have on the free live television version of the programming? Why would you pay money for a service that makes you watch commercials, at all? Why would you pay for the service, when it forces commercials on you when you could avoid them by skipping ahead with a DVR in other avenues? Why would you pay for the service, when you could get the content from torrents? Why would you pay for the service, when most of the programming is inane bullshit that even a toddler is too intelligent for? Why would you pay for the service, when what (shitty) programming there actually is, is almost never there in full? Why would you pay for a service that only gives you the latest episodes on some shows, but not the older ones or only the older ones but not the newer ones or only a random assortment of some in the middle or only the last two episodes of it and only a couple weeks after they air?

It is such a mish-mash random smattering of incoherent and poorly organized shit. I was trying Hulu recently and they had seasons 1, 4 and 5 of a show I wanted to watch.. I had to go to fucking Netflix to see seasons 2 and 3 (and Netflix charges the same amount. . . and I didn't have to watch a single commercial).

If you want people to stop "stealing" your shit -- or for people to start *watching* your shit at all (much less even pay for it), then you need to give them access to everything. Every episode from first to last and as soon as it has aired on television. That's it. That's the only solution. No amount of boardroom deals, backroom negotiations, or transfer of ownership is going to fix that fundamental problem.

Re:Hulu is total shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44280507)

Amen!

TiVo subscription (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44281161)

Why would you pay for the service, when it forces commercials on you when you could avoid them by skipping ahead with a DVR in other avenues?

Because it's cheaper than the recurring fee that some DVR models require.

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