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FOX's The Simpsons on Hulu  (Source: Hulu)
Free mobile video will soon be at iPhone owners' fingertips

The iPhone is about to get a little cooler.  Hot off taking the internet world by storm, internet site Hulu, which offers commercial-supported streaming TV from Fox and NBC, is set to make the jump to mobile devices with a new iPhone app.  The new app is set to transform your iPhone into a pocket TV.

The news first leaked to Alley Insider, which spoke with a "plugged-in industry executive" who confirmed the development of the app.  The executive said the app will land in only a few months, will support both Wi-Fi and 3G connections and be, in their words, "badass."

The app is not without its competition -- there's already a CBS app, a Joost app (MTV, BET, Paramount Pictures, and NASCAR) and an i.TV app.  However, with Hulu being the most popular and effective online solution and new reports that it is on the verge of a deal with ABC/Disney, it should take the iPhone world by storm.

Apple and AT&T likely were somewhat reticent to approve the application, which would be in direct competition with Apple's iTunes video store.  However, given the increase in iPhone sales that legitimate mobile TV can bring, their hands were virtually tied.  There's no word yet on whether Hulu will share ad revenue with Apple and/or AT&T, but that seems possible.

The only downside is that you can't download the TV episodes for later watching when on a subway or airplane.  That's one advantage the iTunes video store still holds.

However, with only 3 percent of phone users watching video on their phones, according to market research firm Comscore, the app is big news to the phone industry.  Hulu CEO Jason Kilar had already announced that Hulu would soon be mobile say that the mobile market "ripe for the Hulu experience."  He also said that the experience "may not be identical" on all platforms. 

Hopefully, the Hulu team leverages the iPhone's easy development environment to the fullest, and delivers an app as close to the superb PC-based service as possible.

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RE: world
By MScrip on 4/20/2009 6:05:08 AM , Rating: 2
But it's the Internet...

Not exactly. These are TV shows that are created to sell ads on TV... for products in a certain region.

You may think that the internet is this wild place where anything goes... but the TV world is very different. A production company creates a show and hopes to be picked up by a TV network, and the TV network sells ads to pay for that show. This business hasn't changed in 50 years.

The internet is a new thing, and doesn't exactly jive with the old business model.

If you create a web show or a podcast, you can give it away for free if you want to. But the shows we're talking about are owned by huge production companies or corporations... and they're not gonna give it away for free.

You know how Friends is on TV a dozen times a day? That's because Friends is in syndication, and TV channels BUY the rights to show Friends. Then they have to find advertisers to pay for it. A 30 second commercial on Friends is worth $130,000... which makes one episode of Friends worth $1,500,000... multiplied by 5 times a week. The channel is obviously making money, so they charge advertisers accordingly to make a profit. TV makes a truckload of money from commercials.

You can watch a limited number of episodes of Friends on, and they do sell ads on the streaming version of the show. But they don't put all episodes online because they would rather show them on TV where they can make more money. Online ad pricing is based on viewers, but it's a fraction of what TV ads are worth. If you factored in that 1.5 billion people could watch Friends online... the price that Cascade dish detergent pays for their online ad would go through the roof... more viewers, higher price! But why should Cascade pay more for ads that will be shown in countries that don't sell Cascade? That's why they don't stream everything all over the internet.

Here's another reason: If you were Time Warner, would you rather make $100,000 a day showing Friends on TV? Or only make $1,000 a day showing it on a website?

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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