Friday, October 31, 2008

Why Hulu misses the mark...

Hulu won me over early on, but I've come to realize that they have missed the mark. In all fairness, it's probably not Hulu, rather the suits at the networks.

There is an interesting new show on Hulu called Sons of Anarchy. I saw some ads, so I watched the pilot. Not too bad. I wanted to watch more. Then I notice that they pull down the episodes 22 days after they are put up. So right now you can watch episode 1 & 2, and then it jumps to episode 6. You're just out of luck for 3-5.

I'd really like to mee the person who made this decision, and ask them why they think it's a good idea. Because it's not. There are two outcomes in this scenario.

Outcome #1 - I go to bittorrent and download the missing episodes, and probably the rest of the episodes, just beacuse it's easy. I get to watch all of them, commercial free.

Outcome #2 - I get discouraged, tell myself I'll wait until they come out on DVD (Netflix, I never buy), and I may or may not remember to check them out. What will probably happen is I'll end up never getting around to watching them again. I won't become a fan of the show, and won't watch the Hulu version with ads that generate revenue.

Isn't there data out there that show people still buy DVDs, even if they've seen the shows on TV, or watched them on the internet? Or that even if they don't buy DVDs, doesn't the ad revenue make up for that? A recent article on wired quotes Hulu as they will "dramatically exceed initial forecasts" regarding revenue.

I am willing to watch commercials to watch TV. I'm not willing to ignore my family at a certain time, and on a certain day, to watch a program. Watching TV when it is broadcast is so 20th century. If I'm in the mood to watch something at 1:39 in the morning, then by golly, I'm going to watch it then, not at 7:30 on a Thursday.

Hulu is close to the mark, but sites like the Pirate Bay will always be there, and will always be a viable alternative, until the Networks understand that they need to give consumers what they want.

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