TVREV Week in Review: Time Warner Buys 10% of a Newly Resurgent Hulu; Instagram Copies Snapchat Stories

1. Time Warner Buys 10% of a Newly Resurgent Hulu

Hulu may be losing money, but it’s got some buzz behind it and now it’s got a couple of billion from Time Warner too. (NB: Time Warner corporate is not the same as Time Warner Cable. We get confused too.) That’s a much needed infusion and just in time too.

You see, during the upfronts this year, Hulu announced that they would be launching a virtual pay-TV service or V-POP early next year. The announcement raised a lot of eyebrows as Hulu is owned by three of the Big Four broadcast networks and thus was starting with a huge advantage over other V-POPs, who first have to go out and strike deals with those networks.

Why It Matters

The Time Warner deal brings the Turner family of networks to Hulu’s new service. That means CNN, TNT and TBS, which gives users great news options (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) and sports options (ESPN, TNT).

A recent article in Cord Cutter News indicated that CBS was on board, along with Showtime and HBO (HBO is owned by Time Warner.) The price points they cited seemed reasonable too.

If the Hulu service succeeds, it will allow the networks to control distribution, something they’ve previously had to rely on the MVPDs for. That would allow them to collect all sorts of information about viewers since they’d have their credit card numbers.

More than that though, it would allow them to serve up addressable advertising, since they would finally have the means to do so. (Right now, true addressable can only be served up via the MVPDs as they have the means of distribution. The MVPDs could technically serve up addressable advertising for the networks, but that’s as likely to happen as pigs flying. So right now they sell addressable against the 2–3 minutes per hour the networks grant them as part of the carriage deal arrangement.)

If the networks started to sell their own addressable advertising, that would be a huge game changer, bringing us closer to the Holy Grail, where networks sell fewer, better targeted spots for more money, and peace and harmony break out throughout the land.

Stranger things have happened.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re an MVPD, you probably want to kick your TV Everywhere app into overdrive so you have a counterweight to Hulu. We’re not sure it will succeed — Hulu has a lot of negative baggage to overcome — but if it does, watch out.

If you’re a network that’s not currently involved with Hulu, you might want to be. This could be big and there’s really no downside to participating.

If you’re a network that owns Hulu, don’t forget about marketing: the only way the Hulu V-POP is going to succeed is with a serious marketing campaign that explains very clearly what it is, how it works and why you’d want it.

Finally, if you’re an advertiser, and Hulu does offer addressable, jump on it. It’s a great way to understand if it works for your brand and you’ll be able to get a lot of data out of it, to boot.

2. Instagram Copies Snapchat Stories

In one of the internet’s most blatant rip-offs, Instagram introduced its own version of Snapchat’s stories. The only difference we can see is that Instagram stories can be public if your account is public. Otherwise they are pretty identical, right down to the 24-hour self-destruct thing.

Why It Matters

Instagram is wildly popular, easy for people over the age of 22 to use, and part of the Facebook empire. Look for them to start selling branded filters and all other sorts of tricks from the Snapchat playbook.

It also makes the notion of what we’re calling Temporary Media even more popular. Temporary Media is only up for 24 hours and is much lighter and goofier in tone than permanent media. That means it’s a perfect ad vehicle for many brands.

What You Need To Do About It

Whether you are an MVPD, a network or a brand, it’s time to take all those Snapchat tricks you’ve just learned and export them to Instagram. You’ll reach an older audience and we would not be surprised if Instagram introduced a way to export Stories to Facebook as dark posts. Hello 1.7 billion users!

Originally published at on August 5, 2016.

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