links for 2010-02-04

  • Kevin: US streaming video site Hulu marks a milestone, having served 1bn stream. Now, it will be exploring paid models with offering of a $4.99 to get rid of the ads or $14.99 for seasons of shows and a back catalogue.
  • Kevin: "Outspoken billionaire cum provocateur Mark Cuban charged Google and other content aggregators Tuesday of being freeloaders — or worse. "The word that comes to mind is vampires," he said. "When you think about vampires, they just suck on your blood."
  • Kevin: Miguel Helft from the NYTimes writes: "YouTube said last month that it would dip its toes into the digital movie rental business with five independent films tied to the Sundance Film Festival. The company said the five films, which were available for 10 days, received a combined 2,684 views.

    At $3.99 per rental, YouTube netted $10,709.16. "

  • Kevin: Peter Kirwan (who I shared a stage with last week at the Frontline Club in London) writes: :"If the new rules of media end up writ large on tablet devices, a series of battles will need to be fought and won. The biggest conflict of all pits hardware and software companies, mobile operators and content producers against one another. Each wants the lion's share of the value chain." Interesting piece.
  • Kevin: My colleague Steve Busfield at the Guardian writes: "After a little prompting Rupert Murdoch gave it straight when asked what he thought of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger's vision of a future without paywalls: "I think that sounds like BS to me." Murdoch says in announcing News Corp's $254m profits for the last three months of 2009: "Content is not just king, it is the emperor of all things digital. We're on the cusp of a digital revolution from which our shareholders will profit handsomely." Shareholders will profit handsomely. Murdoch will profit handsomely. Make no mistake fellow journalists, you will not. Polish up your CVs. Launch your own projects. Murdoch's digital future won't mean job security or living wages for you.
  • Kevin: I think Peter Preston raises some important issues in this piece from the Media Guardian. I will agree with him that the paywall and paid content discussion has been largely ideological and not strategic. I think that even the use of the term paywall creates a binary position when really we've got a spectrum of options. I do think that newspapers will be bundled with other services such as pay TV. However, I think Preston makes some imperfect comparisons when he looks at the Optimum Cable-Newsday bundle and speculative bundles that Rupert Murdoch might create with Sky TV and News International.
  • Kevin: Robert Wright, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, believes that technology has made special interests more powerful in the US to the point of almost making the US ungovernable. "This generation of political technology — Special Interest 2.0 — has made Obama’s job a lot harder." Has technology turned the US into a direct democracy, or a much larger version of the failing state of California? It's an interesting argument that I'm not sure I agree with.
  • Kevin: Jake Dobkin, the publisher and co-founder of Gothamist, has some very harsh words for The New York Times. "I don't think a paper that loses millions of dollars a year and funds itself by taking extortionary loans from plutocratic Mexican billionaires can be said to be competing in anything, Metro or otherwise. My feeling is you only get to congratulate yourself if you produce a great product and make money doing it— you don't get any points for doing just the first half. And that doesn't just go for you guys— I don't think any magazine or newspaper that supports itself by sucking on the teat of some old rich guy (or his heirs!) should be giving anyone else advice." He says that goes doubly in terms of local. (What about City Room?)
  • Kevin: Robert Andrews at highlights a brilliant bit of research on the turning point in the rise of the freesheets. Nearly half of the freesheets that have launched have shut. As Robert says, it's some fantastic research by Piet Bakker at Hogeschool Utrecht.
  • Kevin: Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land has a great example of Mark Cuban being a bit hypocritical about calling Google and aggregators vampires when Jason Calacanis' Mahalo, which Cuban has invested in, does many of the same things that Cuban accuses the bloodsuckers of doing. There is a lot of this kind of talk by media incumbents who really play both sides of the game. Danny isn't the only person to call Cuban out on this. It's important to do seeing as many in the legacy media are using their bully pulpits to call for changes in competition law to support their businesses. Emerging media companies don't have the platforms to counter this kind of lobbying.
  • Kevin: Staci D. Kramer at publishes a memo sent to the affiliates with Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz's Journalism Online LLC paid content company. The memo adds a little more detail. "Most are using some version of the metered model, though all are deploying their own variations. For example, one is combining the metered approach with the segmenting option; another is combining the out-of-market targeting with the meter; and a non-profit affiliate will combine the meter with a support campaign."
  • Kevin: Telegraph "New strategy will focus on content, commerce and clubs – not user figures, says Telegraph Media Group digital editor" Ed Roussel says that the strategy of linking increasing traffice to increasing ad revenues "broke around March 2008". Roussel heads up The Telegraph's Project Euston, "We have done it so that any one of our over 500 journalists who has a brilliant idea can apply for funding and other resource, and try to make it a reality." Smart programme, but as a friend says, it comes after hundreds of journalists have lost their jobs. Sad that it had to come to this.
  • Kevin: Jason Fry suggests that generalist advice for writing on the web should come with a caveat" "Take stuff like this with a boulder of salt. Such well-meaning advice oversimplifies our craft, and makes the mistake of assuming Web readers are all alike."