WBEZ | Hulu http://www.wbez.org/tags/hulu Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The online future of television http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/online-future-television-106193 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/netflix-house-of-cards-global-release-all-13-episodes-february-1st-anti-piracy-0.jpg" title="Kevin Spacey stars as the vengeful Frank Underwood on the Netflix political drama 'House of Cards.' (Salon.com)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">In the future &ndash; 20 years from now &ndash;&nbsp;we may look back on&nbsp;<em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Cards_(U.S._TV_series)" target="_blank">House of Cards</a>&nbsp;</em>as the show that changed television.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Instead of airing on an established cable network like<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HBO" target="_blank"> HBO</a>&nbsp;or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_(TV_channel)" target="_blank">AMC</a>, the American political drama series (executive produced by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000399/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1" target="_blank">David Fincher</a> and starring <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000228/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Kevin Spacey</a>, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000705/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Robin Wright</a> and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0544718/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Kate Mara</a>) premiered its entire first season on February 1, 2013 via the streaming service <a href="https://signup.netflix.com" target="_blank">Netflix</a>. Subscribers could watch all 13 episodes in a row if they wanted, and <a href="http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/02/house-of-cards-netflix/" target="_blank">many of them did</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Self-producing on Netflix turned out to a brilliant move for <em>House of Cards</em>, prompting <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/05/house-of-cards-should-you-binge-watch-netflix-s-political-drama.html" target="_blank">popular media</a>&nbsp;to wonder: will this novel experiment soon become the norm?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The idea of &quot;<a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/05/house-of-cards-should-you-binge-watch-netflix-s-political-drama.html" target="_blank">binge-watching</a>&quot; a series is nothing new (see <em>Portlandia</em>&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQttrkzWOo4" target="_blank">Battlestar Galactica</a>&nbsp;sketch)&nbsp;but we used to have to wait until the DVD boxsets of our favorite shows came out before we could devour a season (or ten) in one sitting. Releasing an entire new season at once, however, allows the viewer to watch episodes at their own pace, without having to wait for the next one to arrive. According to <em>House of Cards</em> showrunner <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beau_Willimon" target="_blank">Beau Willimon</a>, this bundled style of distribution is the way of the future:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;It&#39;s fully in the audiences hands to decide what their own experience is,&quot; Willimon says, &quot;The same way that you read a novel. You can read <em>Anna Karenina</em> in two days, or you can read it over a year. And I think that&#39;s better because it personalizes the experience.&quot;</div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In a culture that wants everything fast and<a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2013/02/01/the-growing-culture-impatience-where-instant-gratification-makes-crave-more-instant-gratification/q8tWDNGeJB2mm45fQxtTQP/story.html" target="_blank"><em> right now</em></a>, this strategy of &quot;personalized viewing&quot; has<a href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/house-of-cards-hit-capitol-hill.html" target="_blank"> </a><a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/03/19/is-netflixs-house-of-cards-built-of-steel.aspx" target="_blank">caught on like wildfire</a>. Netflix, once struggling from the loss of subscribers after&nbsp;<a href="http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/netflix-customers-revolt-against-price-hike-133376" target="_blank">much-maligned</a> fee hikes, <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/03/19/is-netflixs-house-of-cards-built-of-steel.aspx" target="_blank">doubled its stock</a> this year and sailed its way back into patrons&#39; good graces. In addition to <em>House of Cards&nbsp;</em>and the Eli Roth werewolf saga <em>Hemlock</em> premiering in April, Netflix has acquired a much-hyped reboot of <em>Arrested Development,&nbsp;</em>the quirky <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development_(TV_series)" target="_blank">family sitcom</a>&nbsp;cancelled by Fox in 2006 and now prepping for a brand new season. Netflix will release all 14 episodes simultaneously in May, with a possible <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development_(TV_series)" target="_blank">big-screen adaptation</a> to follow. &nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Not to be outdone by Netflix <a href="http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/03/netflix/" target="_blank">revolutionizing television</a>, other streaming sites like YouTube and HuluPlus have developed their own self-produced programming to draw TV viewers online. Hulu has <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/08/hulu-debuts-previews-of-its-2013-original-programming-and-exclusive-series/" target="_blank">three original series</a> lined up for this summer (<em>The Awesomes</em>, <em>The Wrong Mans</em> and&nbsp;<em>Behind the Mask</em>),&nbsp;YouTube will soon begin&nbsp;<a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/future-of-the-internet-youtube-charging-for-channel-subscriptions" target="_blank">charging</a>&nbsp;$1 to $5 per month for premium content&nbsp;and DirectTV is banking on a <em>House of Cards</em>-like hit with its new original series <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2013/03/11/directv-hoping-for-a-house-of-cards-like-hit-with-original-series-rogue/" target="_blank"><em>Rogue</em></a>, which stars Thandie Newton and debuts April 3. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile, ratings continue to <a href="http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/03/nielsen-family-is-dead/" target="_blank">plummet</a> for traditionally broadcast network and cable series, including zeitgest-y fan favorites like <em><a href="http://frontpsych.com/2013/03/11/blame-the-zeitgeist-girls-modernism-and-lena-horvath/" target="_blank">Girls</a>,</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amctv.com/shows/breaking-bad" target="_blank"><em>Breaking Bad</em></a> and <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/television/2012/10/22/121022crte_television_nussbaum" target="_blank"><em>Parks and Recreation</em></a>. But when most of these shows are available to stream on HBOGo, Hulu and other less-legal (but <a href="http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-popular-torrent-sites-of-2013-130106/" target="_blank">oft-frequented</a>) bit torrent sites, one can see why so many people are cutting off their cable providers and turning to their computer screens instead.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Viewers will continue syncing their laptops to their HD screens in order to best absorb the gore of <a href="http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-popular-torrent-sites-of-2013-130106/" target="_blank"><em>The Walking Dead</em></a> and the glamour of <a href="http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men" target="_blank"><em>Mad Men</em></a>, but television channels as we know them may become obselete in the next few years. Instead, audiences will clamor for more instantly-accessible content, and TV providers will go online to keep them satisfied.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>How do you watch your favorite shows? Do you think that web series are the way of the future? Leave a comment below, send me a tweet&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a> or join the conversation on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.&nbsp;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 21 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/online-future-television-106193 Who will buy Hulu? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-06/who-will-buy-hulu-91605 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-07/hulu-alec.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For people who watch TV and movies over the Internet rather than the airwaves or cable, Hulu is one of the most popular sources of content. The company has offered streaming, on-demand access to select television shows and movies since it launched in 2008. Now,the site's owners are looking to cash in, and some big guns — including Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Dish Network — are showing interest.</p><p>Why Hulu's corporate owners would want to sell in the first place is a question that many in the industry are asking. Even though Hulu made its name by providing free streaming access to shows like <em>30 Rock, Family Guy </em>and<em> Modern Family </em>(as long as you sit through a few commercials), it has reportedly nabbed nearly one million subscribers since it launched a paid service last year that offers more shows for $7.99 per month.</p><p>Nicholas Carlson, the deputy editor of Business Insider, says Hulu's incentive to sell stems from the fact that its owners actually compete with one another. Those owners are the corporations — The Walt Disney Company, Comcast/General Electric and News Corp --- that own the major TV networks ABC, NBC and FOX, respectively.</p><p>"Really, there's really too many parents in this family," Carlson says. And they don't always play nice. "There were complaints a couple of years ago about Hulu salespeople going out and pitching against ABC salespeople who also show video on Internet, and they're undercutting their prices."</p><p>Now may also happen to be a very good time to sell Hulu, since every major Internet provider wants to offer its customers premium TV content that it can sell to advertisers. The price tag for the site could be as much as $2 billion.</p><p>Bidders like Amazon are attracted to Hulu, says Carlson, because they'd like to beef up their current video business, and because owning the site could lay the groundwork for even more technological growth.</p><p>"Amazon is going to launch an iPad rival, a clone, so to speak, later this year or the beginning of next year," Carlson says. "I've heard that Amazon is thinking a Hulu-branded tablet would be a great way to get consumers really excited."</p><p>Despite that potential synergy, Carlson says there's an even more powerful bidder.</p><p>"Google just has so much cash in the bank right now," he says.</p><p>Google already owns another streaming video site, YouTube, but despite that site's massive popularity, it has a weakness. "Birthday videos, videos of stunts: that stuff's very hard to sell advertising against," Carlson says.</p><p>How might Hulu change if it's sold? Nobody outside the company itself or its possible buyers really knows. But content is key. Marci Ryvicker, a senior analyst with Wells Fargo Securities, says that because ABC, NBC and FOX jointly own Hulu, they all have an incentive to provide content that people want to watch. If they sell, that may not be the case any longer.</p><p>"It's up to them to either continue providing or not," Ryvicker says. Without these networks' shows, Hulu won't be worth much. "No one's going to pay $2 billion for a company that won't guarantee a certain specific level of content, because again, that's all that Hulu really provides."</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Tue, 06 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-06/who-will-buy-hulu-91605