Category: TV Entertainment

Yesterday, the Netflix CEO calls out Comcast and today the FCC gets involved, but tonight…Hulu may have discovered their own way to fight back against Comcast.  Hulu is looking to enter into the original programming market and act more like a traditional network.  This may be the way to gain a competitive edge and it could possibly change the market for streaming content.

Now a bit of a disclaimer, I’m a not-so-happy Comcast customer, but have not made the jump to Hulu and I recently cancelled my Netflix subscription.  Comcast is expensive, but offers everything I need for my TV entertainment.  On the other hand, there’s not enough attraction or difference that makes Netflix/Hulu worth my money.

However, what I do enjoy is watching new series programming like Modern Family, New Girl, How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.  Hulu is hoping that this same market of customer will feel the attraction to their own original series–which of course will only be available through Hulu.  I sure hope Netflix is paying attention and is listening.

Here are some key areas that Hulu/Netflix can explore to fight against Comcast and other networks:

  • Music – Providing users with special, only-available-through-hulu music content could spark some interest.  Imagine special backstage access to your favorite artists?  Unreleased music not available anywhere else?  Special performances only available on Hulu/Netflix?  There’s some incentive right there to subscribe
  • Movies – Networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) have original movies for quite some time and why not Hulu/Netflix join in?  Reach out to some high-profile actors and/or actors trying to make a comeback and they could put together some great movies.  Again, these movies could provide incentives to subscribe
  • Sports/Other Interests – Work with professional sports (Golf, Basketball, Football or even MMA/UFC) to host a few tournaments that will attract a decent amount of viewership.  If a sport that I like to watch has an event that is only available through Hulu/Netflix, I may think about making a jump.  Boxing is a sport that needs some attention, maybe work out a deal with them?

These are 3 key areas that Hulu/Netflix could investigate and may change the competitive landscape.  The key is providing exclusive content that is only available through these apps.  Competing with the traditional cable networks is tough especially if price is the main incentive.  Original content of all kinds is an interesting market and with enough advertising/marketing, it could become a hit.

Imagine if Modern Family was only available through Hulu?  Yes, there is a chance the show wouldn’t be a hit b/c of the limited audience, but what if it did become popular?  Things would be different!

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Update:  TechCrunch is weighing in on this too.

Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, has a big issue with how Comcast registers internet usage on Netflix, HBO Go and Hulu VS using the Comcast Xfinity app.  In essence, here’s what is his issue: (here’s CNET’s report)

When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps [Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu], it counts against my Comcast internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap.  (source:  Hasting’s Facebook Post)

What is Comcast’s argument?  Comcast notes that using the Xfinity Xbox app won’t use up the 250 GB monthly cap (WHICH IS A LOT) because the content is not streamed over the internet, but instead is stored within Comcast’s hardware (much like OnDemand services).  This seems to justify why data usage isn’t used with Xfinity, but is it fair that other apps use up the monthly data usage?

To be frank, the 250 GB limit is A LOT.  Netflix CEO said he used up 1 GB of cap by watching an episode of Saturday Night Live (which was probably an hour’s worth of data).  Essentially, a person can watch 250 episodes of Saturday Night Live and barely reach the cap.  Yes, many people use their internet for email, internet browsing and YouTube, but still 250 GB is a lot.

Now…aside form that, is it fair what Comcast is doing?  I say YES!  This gives Comcast the competitive edge and incentive to use their apps.  Makes complete sense and is 100% fair.  Comcast’s prices are high enough, customers would freak if this were not the case.  It’s all about incentives to use Comcast’s app and to stick with their service.

Perhaps other companies like Netflix/Hulu/HBO Go should focus their time and effort on figuring out how to use less internet data usage…that will be time well spent and make their existing customers happy.  In fact here’s what the other apps should focus on:

  • How can they deliver content faster and easier to customers?
  • How can they use less data with their services?
  • How can they offer more competitive pricing?
  • Perhaps the apps can join forces and provide “group” prescriptions and fight against the Comcast giant

Am I missing something?

Here’s some more information about the legalities of this subject.


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