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Amazon Prime Instant Video Catalog Grows

Such is the online video content war: catalogs grow, compete and find their way into the homes / devices of as many eyeballs as possible.... after all, content wants to be seen and ultimately the economics for all are dictated on content being seen by as many eyeballs as possible. It's why I believe that over time libraries will exist and overlap on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, web, app stores, etc. It's inevitable... And here is:- continued proof of that trend - and yet another reason to be bullish on Amazon, Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant Video

And most importantly: Yo Gabba Gabba is now available with unlimited streaming from Amazon. Attention parents - this alone is reason enough to buy the Kindle Fire!!

Hulu's New Social Sharing Gives Visual Control

Hulu has introduced a new sharing mechanism that does two things: 1. It allows users to comment specifically on 'moments'. That then publishes the specific scene to your Facebook wall and stores your comment at the specific moment within the timeline. At scale that creates a very interesting concept: a dialogue that moves along the video's entire timeline. At scale that also poses a problem: will I want to read all of that content? Not sure... but interesting.

2. The preview UI is terrific. This is what first caught my eye: the pop-up box showcases the specific screenshot, comment and formatting that will appear on Facebook. That's really good-looking, unique and powerful.

Why is it potentially powerful: first, because I think users like to feel control over what is published and this is a visually, fully controlled experience. Second, it is different... and that means that users will drawn to it (as compared to a standard like button).

I really like this experience and don't see why it can't be applied to other visual mediums like e-commerce.

HBO Go: Delightful, Albeit Inefficient, Exploration. And That's Fine By Me.

Below is a screenshot of HBO Go's iPad App. It's gorgeous, fun and highly dynamic. It represents the shift of paid content to mobile: HBO Go, ESPN Watch, Netflix, Hulu, etc. And it represents the visual opportunity presented by the touch-based device (smaller screen, different format).

And lastly, it shows the design similarities with e-commerce iPad apps like Gilt and eBay. Why do the apps look similar? Sure there could be some flattering mimicking... but more importantly: e-commerce and digital media hubs often struggle with findability within huge universes of product / content. Big visuals and touch-based exploration are a good way to conquer.

Specifically within the HBO Go app: it is interesting that 95% of the screen is dedicated to dynamic, visual tiles. Buried at the bottom is a persistent navigation footer: category, title, etc. In a world of funnels and tools to drive efficiency, HBO has made the clear choice to value exploration and engagement.

Hulu Gives Away a Month of Hulu Plus for Facebook Connect

After my rather public Netflix cancellation , I was lured into Hulu Prime with their Facebook Connect promotion: a free month of Hulu Prime if you connect your Hulu account to Facebook. Smart for Hulu because it's smart for me: - Hulu Prime is a better product with Facebook Connect. Browse is better. Recommendations are better. And it is more fun.

- The value of me being socially connected is absolutely worth a free month to Hulu. Again, better data and virally shared content.

- It is an instant reward (of decent value) for a instant social share (of greater value). The moment I start my account, it is shared on Facebook and that alerts my network that I am a Hulu Prime user and that I got a free month (so they should too).

- ... And the math obviously says that the cancellation rate must be far lower than the continuation rate.

Consequently, this is a better way for Hulu to run an introductory promotion (as compared to 25% or 1st month free) and it's a more compelling experience for me (even better for Hulu).

It's All About the Living Room (2011 Predictions)

To see more of my 2011 tech predictions - click here This will be the year where the internet finally makes it's way into the living room... and I don't mean as a laptop or iPad as you watch television. For many homes, the TV is already the focal point of the living room and it's been a matter of time before the web and the television hook up in an intelligent, simple way. To date, this has mostly been accomplished by bulky solutions geared towards techies: ie connecting a Mac Mini to the television. But all the trends point towards 2011 being the year that the living room begins to go digital in a more mainstream way: - Television prices have gone way down. You can now buy gorgeous, large TVs for under $1,000 (less than many laptops). Those TVs have numerous inputs are are plug-and-play for other connected devices.

- You can spend more and get an internet connected television... which comes equipped with widgets, apps, etc.

- The content is there: Netflix and Pandora and beloved by millions. Along with a growing number of other great apps and content sources (ie: ESPN3, Hulu,, etc) - the web plays an important role in your media consumption. This trend will continue in a massive way (which is why folks like Comcast and ESPN are racing to address it).

- External devices are readily available, relatively inexpensive and are easily integrated: Google TV, Boxee, Apple TV, etc.

- The web now runs in the air. Think about most of your daily computing needs (certainly those that would run on the TV): email, browsing, search, light documents, Facebook, etc. All of this can be done from a browser and does not require a fancy machine... thus enabling lightweight 'computers' like the Google TV to be super effective.

- Someone(s) will figure out more compelling ways to watch TV... which is becoming a passive activity (our TV is frequently on but I am rarely ever fully engaged). Google TV is close: the screen-in-screen approach is compelling. The solution may be appearance related (ie Google TV) or perhaps activity (ie GetGlue, Facebook integration, etc). Whatever it looks like - there is lots of opportunity for innovation... and our TV-watching habits encourage it.

Comcast Uses Xfinity.TV and iPhone, iPad App to Move Online, Counter Netflix & Hulu

It is popular to hate Comcast: mostly because so many of us spend lots of money with them ... and have few choices otherwise. Between cable, internet and phone, the monthly Comcast bill can be one of your largest recurring payments (behind house / rent and car). But let's give Comcast some credit: they are releasing better products (even if it should have happened sooner). Two examples:

1. effectively Comcast's on-demand product with a deeper library and access to your home DVR. Quality is excellent and the library is extensive. For Comcast subscribers, this makes you think twice about Hulu Pro and Netflix (additional monthly bills). Also worth noting: does a pretty good job integrating Facebook and works very well on Google TV:

2. Comcast's iPhone & iPad Applications

It arrived much later than DirecTV's - but the applications are certainly useful. It has several features which are probably unused for most (Comcast email, phone, etc), but the TV Guide and DVR control are great. And for the Xfinity application, the ability to control your television is terrific (and is a challenge to high end bluetooth / IR remote control systems).

These two products (and the ad campaigns supporting them) demonstrate that Comcast is thinking / worried about the migration from TV to web, mobile and tablet. It also demonstrates the impact that Netflix, Hulu and others represent.

Tiger Woods Propels TMZ to 51st Most Visited Website

These days, sponsors might not like Tiger Woods... but TMZ sure does. Steady at 3-4.5m daily pageviews, the news surrounding Tiger Woods over Thanksgiving doubled TMZ's traffic, propelled them to the 51st most visited website, and grew their audience to nearly 22m global uniques.

To put that in perspective, Hulu is 23.8m monthly uniques, Huffington Post is 25.5m, Pandora is 16m and LinkedIn is 31.7m (all are also directly measured via Quantcast).

The Tiger Woods scandal drove significant traffic for TMZ (and continues to do so as the story develops / continues) - and it drives traffic for other sites as well. But TMZ has become the leader in pop-culture gossip after breaking several key stories including Michael Jackson's passing... and they have clearly become the most trafficked gossip site (nearly twice the visitors of - although 2/5th of the pageviews per visitor).

Amidst their growth, TMZ has announced the upcoming launch of TMZ Sports site to expand the brand and reach new audiences.

Hulu In-Video Ads Offer Choice: Preroll or Midstream?

Like 100,000s of others, I cam to Hulu to watch the Jim Cramer / Jon Stewart debate... so what if it was my fifth viewing?

Before the video played, I got the following option: - watch a sponsored pre-roll for the movie "Miss March" (kill me... it looks awful) - and then watch the show commercial-free - or watch the "normal commercial breaks"


I love that Hulu gives me the choice. And advertisers should love it to. Wouldn't Miss March (or any other brand advertiser) prefer to have engaged viewed who elected to view the ad? Particularly in such a captive model (either an upfront unit or mid-show).

Imagine the next evolution when we can select from multiple advertisements(rather than formats). I think Miss March looks miserable and would therefore prefer to see a different ad. And Miss March would probably prefer this too... rather than paying $20CPMs for viewers like me who will never see it. Meanwhile, Hulu can charge higher CPMs because the ads are better targeted and higher value.

Hulu's Lazy Sunday: Family Guy & Saturday Night Live Clips?

I love Hulu. Hulu understands the web, delivers great quality, the experience is simple, and understands both search and portability.... better than any other video site on the web.

When YouTube hit it big, much credit was given to Saturday Night Live's Lazy Sunday video - and appropriately so. Hulu hasn't had a Lazy Sunday equivalent - in part because hit videos are now distributed across numerous sources and players. But Hulu did see big growth thanks to the election and the subsequent Sarah Palin hit videos (thank you Tina Fey).

While Hulu can't point to a single video, it can look to Family Guy, American Dad and Saturday Night Live. Hulu sorts videoes by time (all time, week, day, etc) and type (episodes and clips).

For episodes, Fox cartoons account for nearly 100% of the most popular videos:

Today's most watched: 8/8 episodes are Family Guy This week's most watched: 7/8 episodes are Family Guy This month's most watched: 5/8 episodes are Family Guy, 1/8 is The Simpsons All time most watched: 8/8 Family Guy

For clips (usually four minutes and less), Saturday Night Live represents the majority: Today's most watched: 4/8 are SNL This week's most watched: 6/8 clips are SNL This month's most watched: 7/8 are SNL All time most watched: 7/8 are SNL

I understand why SNL dominates Hulu Clips - great content intended to be digested in "clip" format. But I am surprised that Hulu episodes are dominated by a single source... after all, Hulu has great diversity. I have never watched an episode of American Dad or Family Guy on Hulu, but I have watched Arrested Development and The Office... and I would expect that similar shows appeal to larger demographics. This suggests one (or all) of the following:

- As consumers move from viewing clips to full episodes, shows like Family Guy are best suited for that shift (less plot, more one-liners) - Hulu's core user base is younger (according to Quantcast, 50% of viewers are under 34) - Cartoons are simply more viral

Regardless, I hope that Hulu continues to onboard all types of content... after all, I believe Hulu is a key to bringing the internet to the television.

Hulu Family Guy