More Hulu and Big Media

I am still taking in the greatness that is … a big media company that has gotten it. This morning I bounced over and saw that they’ve recently added a new “program” called, Hulu How-To’s. Nothing earth shattering — the typical screencast of how to do things on the site. The thing that is entirely interesting to me is that the three how-to’s I saw were all about how to share their content. They teach you how to embed it (with the ability to embed only the parts you want), how to link it, and how to email it. Can you imagine a year ago a big media company teaching you how to redistribute their content?

Update … here is something I didn’t know. Hulu is unavailable outside the US. While I have no interest in supporting Internet filtering I am torn about the notion of perceived progress related to limiting access to content.

Two additional observations:

Several years ago big media started demanding that higher education take action against piracy on our networks. I have to say that I do not blame them doing so. Piracy of music, and more recently movies and software, is illegal and should not be tolerated. I think a lot of people didn’t agree with the approaches the big boys utilized and we all wished they saw the value in being more open — we’ve all heard both sides of the conversation so no need to rehash. One of the things we all did to help fight illegal file sharing was limit bandwidth on our campuses so students could push fewer bits through our pipes. We don’t monitor what gets pushed, we just make sure they aren’t using too much. When they do, we are forced to assume it is because they are sharing large media files and we turn off their access for a time. Am I the only one beginning to find it incredibly ironic that some of these same big media folks are now seeing the value in allowing open access to their properties and all of it requires a boatload of bandwidth? I am guessing they will now cry foul about our limiting the very networks they were once so concerned about.

The second observation has to do with Obama’s decision to share his Fireside Chats via youtube instead of just radio. I heard some folks on NPR bashing the decision and coming up with a handful of reasons why it is wrong. I’m not so much impressed that he chose youtube as the platform, I am impressed that he decided to do it on a social platform. Youtube allows for feedback, video responses, and the reuse of media via embed tags. Imagine what an amazing open archive these will be as we go forward. Open educational resources at their best.

11 thoughts on “More Hulu and Big Media

  1. Interestingly, Obama has turned off ratings and comments on his video postings (at least the ones that I looked at). Also, one risk I see with YouTube, and maybe this was mentioned on NPR, is what happened when the video was over. I got the video suggestions that appear over the just completed one and the choices were: (1) Obama’s speech in Chicago and (2) Crazy Cat Attaching Spuds Dog. Not exactly what you hope to be associated with a presidential fireside chat.

  2. D, that’s too bad. It really is a move in the right direction (I guess as long as you live in the States). Another reason why open needs to be really open. When we get together in Borelando for ELI I’ll show it to you 😉

  3. Interesting comment, Scott, about the crazy cat attacking spuds dog. I see where you are coming from. I wonder if public figures worry or ever worried about what content follows them on radio and TV? I am asking that question for realz. Network television can carry the debate and then show a hot-dog eating contest between a man and a bear. I wonder if it is just a question of understanding the conventions of the medium.

    Another aspect to Obama’s use of social media sites: Will the overly cautious among us that still see engaging in these spaces as an horrific unknown find it harder to justify their argument when the office of the president-elect is present in these spaces?

    P.S. The bear won –

  4. Hulu broadcasts nothing but error messages to people outside the United States. Not only is this really annoying (especially when Hulu vids are served up by people who have no clue that they are doing this) it is perpetuating a model of the internet we do *not* want to support, one in which it is partitioned and enclosed by content companies. It is *not* a move in the right direction. IMHO you should not support Hulu in any way.

  5. Stephen … I will agree with you that filtering of any sort is a bad thing. No excuse for that. Google’s search returns across the world, hulu’s blocking of content, and governmental content filtering is just plain bad for the web. Let along big media control over content … all of it is not only frustrating, it is misleading and can cause very ill effects across the globe.

    I am not rejoicing hulu as a corporate entity on any level, I am pointing to the fact that NBC has decided to start paying attention to the realities of our medium. Greed is still the foundation for their decisions.

    But with that said, let me pose this as a follow up question … are the moves by hulu not progress? Given where we were just a year or so ago, can’t this be viewed as a step in the right direction? Supporting them is one thing, pointing to the progress is another. Other thoughts?

  6. OK, I can see that. But in the case where they posted a clip from TV they were violating copyright law. I don’t agree with that position, but there are a lot of things I disagree with that I have to fight the fight my way. My point is that there is a legal resource of embedded “big media” available, albeit in a limited way, but that could change over time. And people still do post a lot of the same content to youtube … it is just done illegally. What to do?

    My desire is for both legal and open access to media content. For some reason, if it is from the big guys we can’t seem to get both. Creative Commons content gets better and richer every single day, but at the moment I am seeing incremental progress on the part of the media industry.

  7. It’s not clear that the posting of clips online is illegal – just that the producers say it is illegal.

    In any case – we were still in a better position a year ago, even if the actions were illegal, because the ‘legal’ alternative we are seeing today is unacceptable.

  8. Brad – I agree that politicians don’t think about what comes on after them exactly (though I would guess they choose their timeslots and channels carefully – not many political speeches on espn). However, I think the difference is that you get the impression with the youtube example that there is a relationship between the “suggestions” and the original video. This is amplified by the fact that the other suggestion is of another Obama speech. Maybe you are right that it is just a convention of the medium, but what I don’t see on television after a political speech is a trailer that says “if you enjoyed this speech you might like to watch the annual hot dog eating contest at coney island available on Ch. 13”.

  9. Stephen … perhaps this would be an excellent opportunity to discuss this and other things on the ETS Talk Podcast we make at PSU? Love to talk more about this with you and where we need to be headed … any chance?

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