Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hulu on Your TV

That's the Holy Grail, isn't it? If you could easily put Hulu on your television set (and I don't count the current hack-arounds as easily), then you could basically check out of the cable grind. Today there's a rumor that Roku, the people who first put Netflix streaming onto your TV, might be trying to do the same with Hulu.

My first thought was, Hey, I'd drop Comcast like a bad habit.

But I'm not so sure, because cable has one totally killer app: sports.

I think it was Rupert Murdoch who said, on the occasion of his purchase of Manchester United, that sports broadcasting was the only content that couldn't be time-shifted or packaged as on-demand. For the most part, I think that's true. You can try to watch your French Open broadcast the day after on DVR, but for any mainstream sport, it doesn't seem practical. Who's going to watch an NFL game a day after?

But more to the point for cable, sports are the one area where there is no model for how their broadcast could be de-bundled from the cable package. And add to this, that sports benefit tremendously from high-definition. So if you love sports, it would be pretty hard to give up cable even if you were getting all of your scripted entertainment from a set-top interface with Hulu.


tom said...

Bars with big TVs!

Anonymous said...

that's a killer app that will preserve cable as a niche medium keeping a third of so or households but not the true mass medium it is today. lot's of people (like me) never watch televised sports and i'd bet that even among those who do a fair proportion wouldn't be willing to pay $50 just for sports when they can get all their other tv needs for $20 through netflix or $0 through hulu.

trumwill said...

This all assumes that the networks let it happen. They might find it advantageous to kill Hulu in its grave first. Or charge a fee.

Thomas said...

Sports will go PPV. Isn't that the model for de-bundling?

Anonymous said...

What about the shift of people watching sports together in pubs etc. Basically live sports will increasingly become Pay-per-View and the cost will be borne not by consumers but by businesses. I see the rise of sports bar chains which will negotiate directly with leagues for broadcast rights.