Reading List: What’s Hulu Really Worth?

Each day we bring you the five top stories about digital media and marketing from around the Web.

Gauging Hulu’s Value: Everyone is on the hunt for the mystery bidder for Hulu. There are some sensible questions being raised about what exactly this entity is buying. David Lieberman at Deadlinepoints out that Hulu is an empty shell without its program suppliers (and owners) NBCUniversal, News Corp and Disney. Would a deal include long-term content deals? Lieberman is doubtful. Peter Kafka at All Things D pushes the story forward a bit by confirming that Hulu has hired a banker. He’s betting the content people win out, echoing the sentiments of Lieberman that content is king in this case. He also points out that Hulu CEO Jason Kilar already has a fraught relationship with his media backers, which would be less inclined to support Hulu without their ownership stakes. It will be interesting to see what emerges. From its inception Hulu has had doubters, which it’s often proven wrong. The question is whether its great consumer proposition will trump the corporate infighting inherent in these kind of joint ventures. Deadline and All Things D

Life Without Cookies: Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of advertisers and publishers like the prospect of a world with strict Internet-tracking regulation. There’s reason to be afraid. The UK has implemented a draconian Internet privacy law that requires consent for Web tracking. It’s nearly impossible to implement. The government Information Commissioners Office went ahead, and it saw a 10 percent opt-in rate. For a publisher, that would mean 90 percent of visitors couldn’t be targeted. Chinwag

Facebook Distribution Woes: Publishers and brands have raced to pile up Facebook fans. There’s a problem: only 3 percent to 7.5 percent of fans see the posts from the company, according to All Facebook. This is another data point that calls into doubt the social media fan gold rush. The problem is most brands don’t know what to do with the fans they accumulate, often through an offer of some sort. Just getting people to click a like button is a low-engagement success. All Facebook, interestingly, found brands aren’t posting enough to communicate with their followers. All Facebook

Cannes Lion for Social Spam?: The Cannes ad festival is going on this week in the South of France. The awards part, always a sideshow to the real action at parties, has kicked into high gear with the Cyber awards. Few surprises here with top nods to the Old Spice “Response” campaign and Google’s “Wilderness Downtown” for Arcade Fire. The third is interesting, an effort by R/GA called Pay with a Tweet. The idea is people can transact not with money but with a social media post promoting the product. Everyone wins! The downside to those kind of things is they reward the wrong behavior. Twitter has plenty of promotional things going on without people encourage to auto-tweet promotions. The reason word of mouth is so powerful is that it’s not marketers paying for it or incentivizing it. Pay with a Tweet was already, in fact, tagged as spam. It’s interesting that the ad world is so beguiled by something like this, probably because the R/GA effort was a product — nowadays all agencies want to be in the product business, not communications. Pay with a Tweet

Tech as the New Media: News outlets are shrinking, but there are odd new avenues for journalists. Technology companies are one option. Salon’s editor Richard Gringras is moving to Google to lead its “news products.” That will include Google News. Hopefully, Gringras can improve the biggest beef news organizations have with Google. Searching for news of his appointment, a user is brought tons of posts regurgitating the news rather than the original source of it. At the same time, Fortune’s digital editor Dan Roth is jumping ship to LinkedIn, where he’s going to concentrate on editorial curation. The idea is he and his team will surface the most interesting information being shared among members in a publication called LinkedIn Today. Best of luck to him, although I can’t imagine reading a publication from a site that most use as a modern-day rolodex. LA Times and LinkedIn

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