Hulu tops 4 million paid subscribers

Acting Hulu CEO Andy Forssell posted some interesting stats to the Hulu blog earlier today. In the first quarter of 2013, Hulu Plus surpassed 4 million subscribers, and their subscription numbers doubled during 2012.


Aereo & Netflix executives understand modern viewing habits

The widespread availability of fast broadband has changed the way many people consume video content; it's especially true of younger generations who've grown up with laptops, smartphones, and tablets. The established media companies are bound and determined to maintain the highly profitable business models they've enjoyed for the past few decades, so whenever technology enables new companies to serve customers in a way that threatens to disrupt the traditional media cash cow, the old guard does everything they can to prevent the new guys from gaining a foothold. Typically that involves lawsuits which challenge the legality of whatever they're doing differently, but sometimes it takes the form of withholding access to physical network infrastructure or denying/delaying content licenses. If you doubt that, a reading of Susan Crawford's book "Captive Audience" will enlighten you on the depths to which the media and distribution companies will go to protect what they perceive to be their exclusive turf.

Luckily for consumers, there are several companies that run next generation video services, and a few of those have the potential to be truly disruptive to the established media conglomerates if they can survive and thrive. This post highlights some recent statements by the executives of Aereo and Netflix - two companies that seem to have what it takes to disrupt the status quo.


VMedia pulls no punches at CRTC hearings on mandatory distribution

The CRTC hearings on mandatory TV channel distribution took place last week, with several companies making their case as to why their new or existing channel should be considered for mandatory inclusion in the basic tier of every cable/satellite/IPTV package in the country. Being granted mandatory inclusion is akin to winning the lottery for a TV channel. It forces every TV distributor to include your channel in every channel package, so it guarantees you a steady income since viewers can't opt out. These designations typically last for 7 years, so if you are granted mandatory carriage you have 7 years of an assured revenue stream.


VMedia IPTV license amended to cover all of Ontario

That was fast!

VMedia recently launched their IPTV service, and just a few weeks later they've been given approval by the CRTC to expand their service to cover what looks like all of Ontario.

You can read all of the details in the CRTC decision (2013-193), but I'll save you some time and list the new areas: Barrie, Hamilton-Niagara, Kingston, London, Oshawa, Ottawa, Peterborough, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Windsor. That includes the "surrounding areas" for all of those municipalities.


VMedia Launches IPTV Service

In early January I wrote about a company named Zazeen that was poised to launch an IPTV service across much of Ontario and Quebec. It would seem that Zazeen is currently stuck in the starter's gate, awaiting the completion of contracts with the big media companies that control virtually all of the TV channels in Canada, including the ones that a distributor is required by the CRTC to carry.

VMedia on the other hand did a fairly low key "soft launch" last week, offering their $25 basic service in various Ontario municipalities and throwing in 3 months of free service as an enticement. I stopped in at the VMedia office over the Easter long weekend on my way through Toronto and met with some of the people behind the service. Read on to find out more about what they're up to and how they plan to become the preferred alternative to satellite and cable for cord cutters who still want a dose of conventional TV.