Hulu has been highly praised for its sleek design and vast amounts of commercial content, stifling nay-sayers by bringing competing networks together to share content and audiences. But these networks can’t seem to understand how important convenience is to attracting customers away from piracy and file-sharing.
I already wrote about Hulu getting into a technology pissing contest with Boxee, trying to prevent the media center software from making it more convenient to watch Hulu. This was likely meant to prevent consumers from watching Hulu on their televisions. Now Hulu has blocked the PS3 web browser and the Windows Mobile Skyfire browser from viewing Hulu content. None of these browsers changed Hulu content – all the advertising was still in place. Hulu likely is blocking these sources simply to give the content providers more control – and allowing them to use the television and mobile phone as addition revenue streams. But this hurts everyone. Consumers loose the convenience of Hulu and go back to piracy (where they can download and watch content however they choose) or they find other content served in their preferred medium. Hulu looses audience and spends resources hurting consumer value rather than increasing it. Consumers can’t be forced into consuming content like the networks prefer. Giving the consumers choice is the only way to compete and grow.