NBC, Comcast and…Hulu?

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Web-TV Divide Is Back in Focus With NBC Sale

…For 60 years, TV could be watched only one way: through the television set. Now, though, millions watch shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” on demand and online on network Web sites like Ms. Sweeney’s ABC.com and on the Internet’s most popular streaming hub, Hulu.com.

How people watch TV on demand — and whether they should pay for the privilege — is a critical issue in the landmark deal, announced Thursday, that will give Comcast control of NBC Universal. In the deal, Comcast will become a co-owner of Hulu.

Like all its broadcast rivals, NBC rushed to put its popular shows on the Web years ago, hoping to secure a piece of the booming online advertising market and offset an eroding audience.

The viewers came in droves, but the ad revenues have not materialized as expected. By giving away TV episodes online, “the industry is literally tossing money and premium content away,” Barry M. Meyer, the Warner Brothers Entertainment chief executive, said in a speech in October.

Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator, has already been using its considerable muscle to limit how many shows are available online, lest people think they can cancel their costly cable subscriptions and watch free online. Now the company — which, if the NBC deal passes government muster, will own a piece of the biggest site that threatens to undercut its core business — is looking for ways to charge for ubiquitous access to shows.

With millions now watching TV on their computers, can the media companies put the Hulu genie back in the bottle?

The scramble by TV companies to preserve its ad model while giving consumers choice — what Comcast’s chief executive called in interviews Thursday “anytime, anywhere media” — mirrors the efforts of newspapers, magazines and radio companies to wring more money from digital media. But all are facing some entrenched habits.

“If you disrupt the consumer experience, you’re in trouble,” warns Mike Kelley, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Stephen B. Burke, the chief operating officer of Comcast, recently called streaming “the biggest social movement I’ve ever seen.”

Does anyone else find this…creepy? There’s something dark and sinister about the way this article is written. Is it accurate?

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12 thoughts on “NBC, Comcast and…Hulu?

  1. At least the NBC big wigs remember the days of broadcast TV when they “gave away” content all the time, 24/7. The internet is just a worldwide audience for that same broadcast TV content.

    I just wish/hope that the people at comcast will know to leave Hulu along and keep giving them content. I’m not likely to set my schedule around comcast’s broadcast times, so I appreciate being able to load up Hulu on my tv and watch what I want, when I want. I don’t even mind have the commercials there either.

    1. free what? that’s not free. afaik, you have to pay for that, lol. At least they don’t offer anything for free here in florida. I pay $60 a month for basic internet and basic television, which includes 15 channels and the 4 broadcast channels in HD.

      no on-demand or dvrs or anything. you get what you pay for.

      unless you’re just in a lucky area and they’re giving you free shit cause you’re so awesome.

          1. I pay a monthly fee for my cable and internet. Included in that price is the On-Demand content. I can watch all the CBS, HBO, A&E, Discovery channel, etc…content at any time, once the original has aired, for no extra cost. PPV movies and events I’d have to pay extra for.

          2. So its not free, then.

            But I guess you could also say Hulu isn’t free in the same vein, because you have to buy a computer, and internet service, and on and on and on and on . . .

          3. Yes, but you don’t pay extra for On-Demand features. As long as you have the digital box, you get the service, even if you only have basic service.

  2. Yes, this is sinister, and I’m sure Comcast will keep the site alive, but it will likely become a subscription based service. Maybe they’ll still offer limited free service, with a total daily usage restriction or something like that.

    All I can see coming out of this is more pirating of the shows they cut from being free.

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