Things don’t seem to be headed in the right direction over at NBC. First we learned they’re selling out to Comcast (or Xfinity), then we had the oh-so-popular Conan debacle, and now they’re making some outrageous claims against Boxee when questioned as to why they were blocking the little black box from accessing Hulu’s content.
We all know what Hulu is, right? With few exceptions, pretty much anyone with a Flash-enabled browser can browse and view any of Hulu’s content. Our desktops and laptops can watch Hulu, the JooJoo can watch Hulu, and smaller devices like the N900 can watch Hulu. With all the platforms capable of streaming their content, you’d think the executives over at NBC would want to get their content to as many viewers as possible.
Clearly, though, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Hulu content is blocked from the tens of millions of Playstation 3’s. That’s tens of millions of people who could consume the content they want from NBC all while pulling in more revenue as it injects its advertisements throughout every episode. So instead, the ad revenue that’d be generated from these additional viewers goes lost. Call me crazy, but if I had to choose between money or no money, I think you know what I’d pick.
During a Congressional hearing for the Comcast and NBC merger was examined, the CEO of NBC, Jeff Zucker, fielded a question about why they’d blocked Boxee from accessing Hulu. Zucker responded “what Boxee was doing was illegally taking the content that was on Hulu without any business deal.” Say what? Boxee uses a web browser just as your desktop or laptop runs to access all of Hulu’s content. Video is still coming from Hulu’s site that runs the same way it would on a desktop. It still runs through their annoying video advertisements. Boxee isn’t “illegally taking” anything.
Perhaps many of these media giants are headed the direction of print. Times are changing. Whether they like it or not, he way we obtain and consume our content is changing. That’s not to say that everything needs to be given away for free, but can’t we find a happy medium? You can either strive to innovate, introducing new ways for millions more to access your advertisers and content, or can stubbornly remain in your old ways, missing out on untapped revenue streams and some good ol’ brand loyalty. The choice is yours.