Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's New at End-of-Quarter?

With mid-year upon us, here are updates on a couple of ongoing stories:
  • Hulu finally announced its long-rumored pay service, Hulu Plus. For $9.99 a month, you can get rolling access to full seasons of many new shows, as they air. And you also get access to more complete seasons of older (sometimes "classic") programs. How many people will pay for this in addition to their cable bills, which often include DVR service, which can duplicate the current-season offering on Hulu Plus? And how will the "classic" series offering compete with Netflix? Time will tell.
  • Brad Stone reports in today's New York Times that Google will be helping independent bookstores when it launches Google Editions, its foray into the e-book market. A deal is apparently near between Google and the American Booksellers Association, which would make e-books available on the websites of independent bookstores via Google Editions. One staffer at Powell's Books in Portland is quoted as saying he thinks this will be a positive thing for bookstores, and that Google won't actually compete with them; though he adds, "I wonder how naive that is at this point. We'll have to see." Indeed. That Google embrace could become stifling.
  • And, with that stifling Google embrace in mind, I'll note that we are still awaiting Judge Chin's decision on the amended Google Books settlement. I continue to hope he'll force more changes, in order to eliminate Google's unfair monopoly. Again, time will tell.