HULU is now open for business, offering a wide selection of ad-supported television shows and films. The site appears to have dropped registration requirements, allowing users to quickly and easily begin watching content. Creating an account enables advanced features, such as subscribing to specific shows and creating an online queue of episodes. CEO Jason Kilar offered PaidContent some insight into the service, saying that he expects a 50-50 split between views on Hulu.com and on the extended distribution network. He said that Hulu has seen a “surprising” amount of long-form consumption while in beta, with a trend of short-form content being consumed earlier in the day and long-form content increasing later in the day. Give Hulu a spin and let us know what you think.
YOUTUBE has announced a new set of developer API’s that aims to make YouTube even more ubiquitous. The new developer code will allow uploading, managing, searching and video playback on any number of devices for any number of purposes. A few examples of how it will be used: TiVo will use it to integrate the video-sharing site into its set-top boxes. Electronic Arts will use the API’s to allow gamers to upload videos of personalized Spore creatures. And UC Berkeley has created a system that will automatically post university lectures to YouTube. If a large numbers of developers accept the idea it could further solidify YouTube’s lead as the top video-sharing site.
NIELSEN will offer second-by-second ratings using data collected from CHARTER set-top boxes in 320,000 Los Angeles homes. This is Nielsen’s first use of set-top data for ratings and a clear response to the encroachment that TiVo and TNS Media have made on its core business. The new service will roll out sometime in the second quarter of this year.
CBS will offer March Madness live and commercial-free on JOOST using a new live broadcast functionality that Joost is introducing today. Joost says the live games are a test of the new feature and “will probably break.” CBS will also offer the games on CBSSports.com, where it has dropped registration requirements and will finally allow bloggers, Facebook users and anyone else to link directly to specific games. Both changes should help increase traffic. The tournament starts next Thursday, March 20th.
JEFF BEWKES said that he is open to the idea of merging AOL with another company. AOL is attempting to transform itself into a major advertising network but has been hampered by multiple executive departures in ad division Platform A. Bewkes said that AOL’s declining dial-up business may be spun off.
JEFF IMMELT told GE investors in his 2007 annual report that the company should not sell off NBC UNIVERSAL, saying “…it just doesn’t make sense.” Immelt’s comments countered rumors of a sale that have recently appeared in major publications.
GOOGLE completed its acquisition of DOUBLECLICK after the deal was approved by European regulators.
SAG and AFTRA have agreed to jointly negotiate with the AMPTP.