Facebook as Social Infrastructure: Yesterday’s debut of video chat on Facebook was covered to death. These media rodeos are most interesting because it’s a chance to hear CEO Mark Zuckerberg talk. You can tell a lot from the words he chooses and what he emphasizes when trying to figure out the direction of the social giant. One thing that kept popping up again and again was “social infrastructure.” This is a shift from the early days of Facebook when Zuckerberg would describe it as a “utlility.” Partially, this reflects the company’s grander ambitions, and it’s also a way to stay out of the thorny issue of utilities, which are regulated for the common good, a point made to me by The Facebook Effect author David Kirkpatrick. For Facebook, chat is just another stop in converting standalone Web activities — think gaming — from their current version on the wider Web to a Facebook social experience in a parallel environment. That’s what you get to do when you have 750 million users. As Tom Anderson pointed out in a post on TechCrunch, it’s the user base, stupid. Facebook has an audacious vision, and it might just be possible considering the scale it’s achieved. CNET TV
Maybe Hulu Really Is Cable: The cable TV model is pretty sweet. Not only do we pay for it, but we also get tons of ads. Hulu was pressured into coming up with a way of charging its users. CEO Jason Kilar reportedly won out in his fight to keep the service mostly free, but to add a premium tier for back episodes of shows. Kilar’s hunch is apparently paying off. Hulu Plus is set to pass 1 million subscribers. This will bolster the case of Hulu’s bankers to suitors that it’s a credible rival to cable TV, with a large and growing subscriber base and the same on the ad side. The question is whether that will all get scuttled if Hulu’s access to content is interrupted. PaidContent
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