The folks at Hulu couldn’t be blamed for losing sleep over the exit of News Corp.’s president and COO, Peter Chernin.
The highly regarded exec basically made Hulu happen, and pushed for its relative independence from the entrenched old media interests at News Corp.
“You can’t protect old business models artificially,” Chernin said, famously, as he campaigned for embeddable video and Web-wide video search on Hulu.
In the past week or so, we’ve seen Hulu reluctantly shut down its feeds to TV.com (CBS) and the freebie Web-to-TV software Boxee, not a good sign for Hulu’s open creative model.
With 78-year-old Rupert Murdoch taking the reins of Fox new media, no one would be stunned to see Hulu become just another self-serving online video outlet, serving up leftovers from its corporate relatives. There are darker scenarios.
Silicon Alley Insider offers five reasons the Chernin exit puts Hulu in danger, with two or three of them making total sense.
Screen and Stream has long argued that true “new media” won’t emerge in effective and macro-synergistic models until the Boomer executive corps begins to fade in Hollywood and NYC.
Chernin was an exception proving the rule: In my decades of slinging news about the entertainment industry, he was one of the few veteran Hollywood suits who managed not to sputter and drool while discussing the Web and its potentials.
Speaking of old media, Comcast is making noises about offering its cable TV subscribers access to network programs off the Internet.
Yes, the same Comcast that declared cold war on BitTorrent users and was sanctioned by the FCC for secretly capping broadband. The same Comcast that went on to institutionalize its 250-gigabyte cap on monthly bandwidth use.
Safe to assume the cabler likes free-spirited Hulu about as much as P2P networking sites.
Comcast reportedly is in talks with Time Warner Cable and DirecTV about setting subscriber-only viewing sites. Among the content providers in the mix: NBC Universal, the other half of the Hulu ownership.
Jeff Gaspin, president of NBC’s Universal Television Group, told the AP that, “There’s pressure on all of (the TV networks). We get paid quite a bit of money from cable operators. … It’s important we find ways to do business that protects that business model.”
This could be a good thing, if we trust the cablers and satellite companies to participate in the online video party, instead of calling the cops. Maybe. Maybe not.
Much of the free access to TV network video online could, in paranoid theory, be gone within a year if distributors put up enough of a fuss — and enough money to dwarf gains from the shaky online ad model. Remember the bad old days when you couldn’t watch cable TV network programs without paying someone? Not that long ago. …
And so the media empires strike back. You have to wonder what took them so long.