Unless you've been in a cave for the past 24 hours, you've probably seen the wave of reports around the announcement of the upcoming beta launch of NewCo/ClownCo/NewSite/Hulu. With much ado about not much, we're left with nothing to do but wait. But we don't like to wait, so we report and analyze the few nuggets of information we have, namely, a freakishly odd name and a short letter from the CEO.
Where do we go from here?
A great man once suggested that we "Sit sit sit, but we did not like it not one little bit." So we will take look at where our current online video user/subscriber market, and hope that Hulu may overcome it's name (that was my last cheap shot at the name, I promise) and deliver a truly unique breath of fresh air into an under-served and poorly delivered online television video market.
6 Streaming Video Viewer Groups/Behavior
The Snacker - watches short clips on YouTube, MetaCafe and StupidVideos. The Snacker wants their 3-4 minute clip of whatever it is, and then to move on, possibly to another video. The Snacker will visit a site for a specific compelling video, but will then expect to be able to embed, email and share the video.
The Artsy Fartsy - watches short films and concept videos with similar viewing behavior (destination/channel) to The Snacker.
The Pirate - Lives on the OVGuide and Joox, mourns the YouTube and more recent Veoh crackdown on IP violations. The Pirate enjoys professional content but wants it on his/her own terms. The Pirate watches some programming in full screen, but often chooses to view it in streaming (screen-in-screen) rather than downloaded formats (via BitTorrent) because they are multitasking while online. if you're not sure what I'm talking about and want to stay on the up and up with the law, check out ABC's new video player.
The People Who Wait For The Walk Sign - Early adopters who care about the law but want the same control and access as The Pirate. This market is consistently underserved.
The Fan - visits program homepages and forums. The Fan probably wants to be able to view missed episodes or watch repeats of their favorite episodes online. The Fan may want to view reruns while multitasking (screen-in-screen viewing), but is far more likely to view programming on a standalone web page when viewing content for the first time.
The Subscriber - Subscribes to video (think vodcasts) via RSS, YouTube, Veoh etc. Expects all video to be delivered to them. If the video isn't short, they will probably want to take it with them on an iPod or be able to watch it in an screen-in-screen player/window while multi-tasking.
Based on the above analysis it looks like the strongest opportunity would be a legal Joox alternative offering high quality streaming, embeddable, resize-able content delivered in a streaming player allowing full screen and screen-in-screen multitasking viewing - with direct links on the player to Fan Sites.
So What About Hulu?
That being said, it looks like Hulu's distribution solution is largely portal/partner based, with no news about additional embeddable, multitasker friendly options. Adding additional destinations doesn't speak to current consumer demands based on the segmentations I've outlined above.
So why should Hulu succeed where all others have not?
Love to hear your thought on all this, please feel free to comment!