Hulu Wrote The Blueprint For Today’s Streaming Media

Hulu Wrote The Blueprint For Today’s Streaming Media

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Phones, Tablets, Lap Tops and Desk tops are no longer just number crunching devices. They pack all the entertainment value of your cable TV at a much less cost. You can select the same program at your own leisure and often bypass commercials. How the average person consumes their entertainment has changed radically as our world now come with us in our pockets. While streaming platforms like Amazon and Netflix may be the biggest brands on the block, Fast Company just released an interesting look back at just how Hulu got the ball rolling for the streaming giants of today. Take a look below. At the end you can link to FC’s ongoing Innovation series that this piece came from.

Remember when Netflix was a DVD-by-mail service? And its chief rival was the brick-and-mortar outlet Blockbuster? Feels like an eternity ago. Now Netflix looks over its shoulder at HBO on one side and Amazon on the other. But it was the breakthroughs generated by the less-praised and underappreciated Hulu that pointed the way to all of their success.

Fast Company put Hulu on the cover of our second World’s Most Innovative Companies issue in 2009. That decision was not a dig at Netflix or a mark of suspicion about its business. (Reed Hastings of Netflix had been a cover subject three years earlier.) Rather, it was a reflection of game-changing steps that Hulu was taking. At that time, Hulu was run by former Amazon executive Jason Kilar, who had to manage an assortment of owners—including both Fox and NBC—that had yet to embrace the idea of streaming their content. While Kilar had access to a rich trove of TV shows, he faced an ownership structure that was internally divided. For several of his many-headed bosses, the prospect of Hulu was at best a test, and at worst a threat to their core operation.

Kilar’s tactic was to play these owners off against each other just enough to keep them at bay, while he and his team furiously worked to create a new kind of viewing experience. Suddenly, streaming TV and even movies was easy, fun—and legal. At that point, the model was ad-supported in a user-friendly way that still hasn’t been replicated: Viewers could choose which ads they wanted to see, increasing the value for advertisers by constructing a qualified audience.

Eventually, Hulu’s corporate structure—not to mention the rise of streaming elsewhere, among its owners and most notably via Netflix—put the company on its heels and Kilar out of a job. But the user experience, design, and mass-market acceptance of streaming were all created or accelerated by Hulu. The most common narrative of innovation success often follows a single disruptor—Steve Jobs, Phil Knight, Mark Zuckerberg—without appreciating how much rests on the shoulders of progenitors and peers who advanced the game.

Today, of course, we expect to be able to stream everything via apps. (Back in 2008, most viewing happened on a desktop computer via the web browser.) Hulu is among a constellation of providers continuing to advance a revolution whose ultimate outcome is still unclear. Hulu hasn’t reaped the lion’s share of the rewards from its early innovations, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a powerful impact. And it continues to play a role in pressing Netflix, HBO, and others to keep advancing.

Via Fast Company

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Desktop Activity Isn’t As Dead As Experts Say

Desktop Activity Isn’t As Dead As Experts Say

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Mobile, Mobile, Mobile…..that’s the future wave. Smartphones are the growing platform of choice for everything digital and while the world is engaged in the screens carried in their back pockets, what has become of the desktop? Well, if you let the many digital experts tell it, stationary computers have one foot in the grave already and are preparing for a swan dive. Fortunately for me and many others like me the demise of the desktop has been greatly exaggerated.

Let’s look at just what the real current status of the desktop computer is in the social media area.

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According to FlurryMobile, 90 percent of mobile user time is spent in apps. Consumers are often using their phones with entertainment and communication intent — calling, texting, checking email, engaging on social media, watching videos, listening to music, getting directions, checking store hours and playing games such as Pokémon Go. The chart above supports this view the personal time is more suited for mobile device usage vs the general office/work hours of the day. But what about the actions that are taking place o these devices?

Where the device decisions get a little more complex is during the process of detailed transactions. Depending on what you’re doing and how major a transaction it is, desktop usage offers a several advantages in efficiency over smartphones. See the following excerpt from Search Engine Land.

Most consumer journeys involve cross-device usage; however, the device used for the final transaction is often determined by the type of transaction and the amount of data needed to complete the transaction.

An example of this type of deeply considered journey can seen in the financial services sector, when a consumer opens a retirement account and makes initial investments. It’s a complex decision with a high cost of failure, and the average consumer will research the process across multiple devices; however, the final transaction of creating the account requires entering a significant amount of data. For that reason, this step is more convenient to complete on a desktop or tablet then on a smartphone.

On the other hand, when the purchase is simple and straightforward without a high cost of failure, like booking a hotel room due to a flight cancellation, I’m more likely to book my hotel stay on my smartphone as I’m exiting the terminal instead of opening my laptop to complete the transaction. And in e-commerce scenarios, the ease of completing the transaction through a one-click purchase option can help increase mobile conversions.

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Once again we see that while usage and time spent is trending towards mobile access, there is a large portion of online active that is taking place almost exclusively on desktops.

[M]arketers always overestimate the appeal of new things and underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.
Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

In the end it would appear that the desktop is not going anywhere. Desktop functionality has become much more direct and focused. Folks are browsing, entertaining and communicating as they move about. Yet they are still sitting down for the bigger decisions and transactions. Keep this in need with your own business. Do you fall into any of those desktop heavy industries? Remember that it will always pay off to have a balance in your professional positioning. One that includes both stationary and mobile accessibility.

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