The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.
― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
Hulu shareholders are idiots.
There’s also still a possibility that Hulu’s owners avoid an outright sale by bringing in another media company such as Time Warner Cable or Time Warner, through an investment. Some analysts have advised against selling. Part of the reason Hulu is on the block, though, is that its owners have disagreed over what strategy to pursue.
In the face of massive disruption the networks did something brilliant and unheard of; they banned together, pooled their resources (some money and their content) and formed a great online media entity that allows people to watch their favorite TV shows online. Without having to pirate them. And guess what, it was a success!
But now, because these broadcasters are afraid of cannibalizing their own business, and some are subscription based and some are advertising based businesses, they don’t know how to move forward without killing the golden goose. But if they sell to one company, - especially a company who’s business model revolves around subscriptions - like DirectTV, they’ll ruin it.
It’s just ridiculous.
The Internet has evolved into a transactional machine where we give our eyeballs and clicks, and the machine gives us back advertising and clutter,” says Nathan Wilson, chief technology officer at Nara Logics Inc. “I’m interested in trying to subvert all of that; removing the clutter and noise to create a more efficient way to help users gain access to things.
Everyone talks about less noise, but few people actually define what less noise means? Or even ask if there is value in the noise? All noise is a signal of something and just because you don’t think it’s relevant, doesn’t mean it isn’t.
In order to value the currency exchange that’s happening you have to quantify the value at both ends of the exchange.
I like BuzzFeed, it’s one of my daily stops. I love this email that was posted and in someways they remind me a lot of Bleacher Report. While their monitization and editorial strategies are completely different, they’re both building their own self sustaining ecosystems and both are doing well in their respective approaches.
Respecting our Readers
We care about the experience of people who read BuzzFeed and we don’t try to trick them for short term gain. This approach is surprisingly rare.
How does this matter in practice? First of all, we don’t publish slideshows. Instead we publish scrollable lists so readers don’t have to click a million times and can easily scroll through a post. The primary reason to publish slideshows, as far as I can tell, is to juice page views and banner ad impressions. Slideshows are super annoying and lists are awesome so we do lists!
For the same reason, we don’t show crappy display ads and we make all our revenue from social advertising that users love and share. We never launched one of those “frictionless sharing” apps on Facebook that automatically shares the stories you click because those apps are super annoying. We don’t post deceptive, manipulative headlines that trick people into reading a story. We don’t focus on SEO or gaming search engines or filling our pages with millions of keywords and tags that only a robot will read. We avoid anything that is bad for our readers and can only be justified by short term business interests.
We Build The Whole Enchilada
Most publishers build their site by stapling together products made by other companies. They get their CMS from one company, their analytics package from another, their ad tech from another, their related content widgets are powered by another, sometimes even their writers are contractors who don’t work for the company. This is why so many publisher sites look the same and also why they can be so amazingly complex and hard to navigate. They are Frankenstein products bolted together by a tech team that integrates other people’s products instead of building their own.
At BuzzFeed we take the exact opposite approach. We manage our own servers, we built our CMS from scratch, we created our own realtime stats system, we have our own data science team, we invented own ad products and our own post formats, and all these products are brought to life by our own editorial team and our own creative services team. We are what you call a “vertically integrated product” which is rare in web publishing. We take responsibility for the technology, the advertising, and the content and that allows us to make a much better product where everything works together.
Hulu making viewers have cable subscriptions to view content would be the best business move in the World…for Netflix. Seriously it would kill Hulu.