My 2011 New Media Predictions

First things first … how did I do on last year’s predictions? I’m going to call 3 out of 5. First commentary on what I predicted for this year.

  • Yup – There will be no real competitor to the iPhone in 2010. Sorry guys but Android still isn’t a real competitor and Windows Phone 7, well, …
  • Yup – “App Stores” will become the goto model for everyone. Ford cars … nuff said. A little silly if you ask me, but it certainly has become the goto model.
  • Nope – We’ll see some desperate last gasps for relevancy from the cable companies. I was right in the “gasps for relevancy” part but I was wrong from where they would come. It’s the “Networks” that want us to take them seriously and are hiring people to make sure we don’t dare watch Chuck on our Google TVs. I still get a chuckle every time Hulu reminds me that I can watch said Chuck on Monday nights at 8p with 4 times the commercials. The Comcast/NBC merger talks will get fascinating as well. The cry for relevancy (as opposed to the rallying cry for innovation) will continue well into next year. Eventually, they’ll get it.
  • Yep – Hulu 1/1/2010 will be dramatically different than Hulu 12/31/2010.Twice as many commercials and very few 15 second spots anymore. I was really surprised this year with HuluPlus but the downright silly implementation of it proves the point that this model isn’t ready for the prime time it streams.
  • Nope – The “App Economy” and easy distribution and product creation models will flood the economy with a bunch of great stuff at prices that can’t sustain businesses. It’s gonna be messy. The only place it got messy was EAs brilliant Christmas iPhone price slashing. I still think it will get messy but the economies of scale do make it fascinating (Angry Birds anyone …?)

But now, … 2011 …

  • The Verizon iPhone will do bigger business than expected and shed some serious light on just how pathetic of a company AT&T really is. Some could call the Verizon iPhone a prediction as well but the clues are too clear for that one. Bringing choice to the iPhone economy will increase sales, lower prices and increase quality as AT&T suddenly finds herself with a competitor again. All good for us. All bad for AT&T shareholders.
  • The 2nd Generation iPad will bring us a very reduced rate on the 1st gen iPad bringing prices (and consumption) close to the Amazon Kindle. I have yet to find an unsatisfied iPad user – I’ve only found people put off by the $499 entry point. That will change this year. Bye bye netbooks …
  • Something MASSIVE from Microsoft is coming to save Microsoft from herself. This might be more of a prayer than a prediction but she’s gonna have to do something very big and very out of the box if she wants to matter at all by 2015. Windows Phone 7 ain’t it. Kinect (although fun) ain’t it. Office 2015 ain’t it. Operating systems are dead. Shrink wrap Office Suites are dead. They’re too late for phone. It has to be something new from the cloud (entertainment is their best best) or something radical in gaming.
  • We’ll see big pushes from YouTube for video rentals, live streaming and cross platform consumption. I’m talking television and movies you start watching on your phone on the commute home and move to your television or computer upon arrival. They have the infrastructure to do it and have more than enough money to make friends quickly with the right partners. They will – regardless of how lame GoogleTV is right now.
  • Social Media will quickly move from buzzworthly catchphrase to reality of online business. Much the same way marketers no longer shake with excitement over the terms PPC or Autoresponders, you’ll find less hype over Facebook and YouTube advertising. You will, however, quickly see it as a part of every serious marketer’s arsenal.

There we go … your thoughts?

Weekend Roundup: Breaking Eggs Edition

As I’ve chewed on / had a few days to think about the Hulu Plus announcement, I am both amazed at what a bad idea it is, on some many levels. I guessed I’ve moved from questions to lethargy. I tweeted yesterday that I thought Hulu was trying to make an omelet without breaking eggs on this one and was failing miserably. Still feel that way.

Here are a few other thoughts from people smarter than me (although I’d love to hear from Boxee or Roku right now):

There is also a lot of talk online about how you have to pay for the higher level of access to the PS3 or Xbox versions while paying for the access but I’m pretty sure the zillion or so Xbox users watching Netflix on their gold accounts have gotten over that pretty quickly.

I’m frustrated because it is a very very very weak attempt at bridging the gap, almost so weak that one might ask if it was designed to fail. I’ve said from the beginning that I think Hulu was designed to fail since day one and although the Hulu Plus announcement did surprise me, I can’t help but wonder if I’m still right.

What do you think?

Hulu Plus – Here Are My Questions

Update #1: Just found out / realized that the Hulu Plus stuff is “broadcast only” – meaning you won’t see any cable content on there. Yes, stuff like Burn Notice and Caprica ain’t gonna happen, even with commercials. Yes, the CEO seems scared that people might think this is a cable killer.

Update #2: Boxee ain’t the only one not on the list. No Android or Google TV either. No Roku. Silly.

I’ve been saying for a long time that I never thought a “paid/premium” version of Hulu was in the cards. Somebody somewhere has smelled some coffee (they woke up too) and I’m quite intrigued. Here’s some reporting from Engadget with a little more insight than the Hulu press release.

For the record, I have no problem paying $9.95 – even with commercials – it’s far less than any cable bill out there and (at this point) has less commercials than any cable bill out there. I’ve applied for beta accounts and am waiting to hear back.

I installed this bad boy on both my iPhone and iPad. Now I’m really glad that I have unlimited 3g on both of them. The demo stuff looks great over 3g – better quality than either Netflix or ABC (on the iPad at least).

But, I have questions:

  • Where is CBS? Nothing from them is in the lineup and we hear rumors of them going all HTML5 on us this fall. Will they be the ones to go totally free?
  • What about Boxee? The lie that “content providers wanted it removed” is about as plausible as (insert BP caring joke here). How come they weren’t listed as a means to get Hulu Plus? They’re on other boxes. What gives?
  • How many commercials on plus? We know the industry is moving to more than one. Will “Plus” go with it?
  • Why Xbox in 2011? Don’t really need commentary about this one.
  • Why no Zune or Windows 7 phone options? Did Remond upset someone at Hulu?
  • Will it “take?” Right now the commentary I’m reading says folk don’t want to pay $10 for this thing.

What about you, will you pay for Hulu Plus?

Do you have answers to any of my questions?

Do you have any questions of your own?

Hulu And The Value Of Content

The blogotwitisfacebooksphere has been all abuzz with the very idea that Hulu might be charging for content at some point in the near future. This piece at NewTeeVee does a good point of catching you up with the story so far.

I brought the idea up on Twitter and got back a few responses. This one was my favorite:

@colligan – You think HULU makes it with this model? They are getting greedy too quickly IMO.

Is it really greedy to make money from content that you own?

Is the problem greed – or just a bad business plan?

Of course, we could ask this question about Wall Street and Detroit – but that’s another post all together.

Hulu reminds me of some of the first dotcom bubble companies – they’re all about enjoying the ride but being honest enough to know that the ride ain’t gonna be around for long.

There was a company in Portland that would actually deliver to my office a pint of Ben and Jerry’s at cost. They would even pick up my dry cleaning at my house (and deliver it back) for less than I was paying at the time to take it to the dry cleaners (and, of course, they did so in these massive trucks “wrapped” with their branding). You bet I used the company and you bet I enjoyed the ride but, … let’s be honest, … I always knew it wouldn’t last.

Time to face some simple facts with Hulu:

1 – Yes, a single (30 second) commercial per break is wonderful but admit it, 75% of them are PSAs. If you can’t sell a single ad per slot – you can’t sell multiple ads per slot – even if people would “put up” with watching them. The ad model isn’t working for Hulu – and anybody who cares about the future of Hulu needs to ask if it ever will.

2 – The fact that Hulu starts each show with a reminder to watch it live with the full commercial experience reeks of a company who has sold some content owners a fascinating bill of goods. The reality that the EULA for their desktop player prevents you from hooking it up to a television set says more about what they think of their audience than this blog ever could. Hulu doesn’t like you skipping the traditional “channels” to consume content on your terms.

3 – The silly fight with Boxee – ’nuff said.

4 – The “experience” is wonderful and the programming is impressive but, admit it, they’re losing money on each and every stream. I’ll direct you back to my “You Can’t Handle The Truth” posting of over a year ago for more on that one.

I’ve said it multiple times – Hulu can’t scale and the coming Hulu is nothing like the one we have today. Personally, I’d prefer the paid model because my time is worth more than these silly commercials take.

And I honestly believe yours is as well.

Here’s the deal: Good content has value.

If we took half the energy spent on trying to figure out how to deliver it for free and put it towards coming up with a payment and delivery model that actually made sense, we’d all be better off for it.

How anyone can spend the money they do on connectivity but feel that the media said connectivity brings should be free is akin to thinking cds should be free because your paying for electricity – or that food should be free because you bought a fridge to hold it in.

When the futurists stop complaining about what the future is obviously bringing, we might get to enjoy the future a bit sooner.

‘just sayin …