Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hulu High-Fiving Its Rocketing Growth (While YouTube Falters to Only 5 Billion Monthly Streams?)

Hulu, major/"traditional" media's effort to capitalize on the massive growth in online video viewing, continues to surprise ... in a very positive way.  Hulu is a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp. (Fox).  And, while many bet against its chances of success, Hulu has so far found a winning formula -- featuring high quality and professionally produced (TV) content rather than videos of talking dogs.  As an example, Hulu is the place to view -- legitimately -- full episodes of Comedy Central's "The Jon Stewart Show" (again, remember to set your DVR's for tonight's Jim Cramer v. Jon Stewart battle royale ... although the winner already is pre-ordained).

While other video sites -- including the mother of them all, YouTube -- posted significant drops in total usage/viewing (YouTube down a whopping 11.2% from the previous month), Hulu rocketed upward 32.9%!  (Of course, to be fair, YouTube totaled 5.16 BILLION -- with a capital "B" -- streams for the month period ending February 9, whereas Hulu's total was 309 million streams).  Nonetheless, impressive -- very.  And, Hulu is now easily the #2 video streaming site.

Is this a one-time aberration?  Don't think so.  Hulu is now -- for the first time -- being talked about in the mainstream.  And, its advertising model is significantly more interesting at this point, precisely because its video content is different from YouTube and others -- i.e., advertisers are much more willing to pay top dollar for "The Jon Stewart Show" than skateboarding dogs (although that YouTube video is hilarious).

If I am any indicator of Hulu's success, I have posted back-to-back stories prominently mentioning Hulu in the past two days ...

Do We Really Need a 2" iPod?

Okay, I likely will be attacked for even asking the question -- but, does the world really need a 2" iPod Shuffle?  Apple poses this question after yesterday introducing this mini music player -- which gives new meaning to the world "nano."  Yes, it is cool that Apple doubled its storage capacity to 4 GB while, at the same time, "honey, I shrunk the iPod" by a factor of 2.  Yes, I guess it is cool that it talks (apparently, that is its navigation solution ... which I cannot really comment on because I haven't tried it yet).

But, even though I am a believer in Apple products (my family and I have several iPods, MacBooks, iPhones, iTouches, desktops ... you get the drill), the company's obsession with size really does matter.  User control and ease of use is critical -- and, these ever-smaller devices frequently are more difficult to use (fingers are too big, etc.).  Soon, the iPod will shrink altogether and simply will be inserted as a chip in our heads.

Reminds me of the great Saturday Night Live skit a few years back after Apple introduced its new "Nano" (which was practically a behemoth compared to today's new "Shuffle").  In that spoof, the iPod had disappeared altogether ...