The Hulu Endgame

The Hulu Endgame: It appears that the fate of Hulu will be decided soon. Bids are coming in for the video service, with wide ranges that hinge on one essential question: what terms will Hulu get from its content partners, a few of which happen to currently own big chunks of the company? Networks are clearly looking to tighten up the rules around when episodes are available and how many. Cord-cutting isn’t a mass phenomenon, but it has clearly spooked networks and cable companies alike. The finalists appear to be Yahoo, Google and Amazon. As noted by Digiday’s Mike Shields, Google might make the most sense for the service — if the current owners are OK with it distributing their content.

Software Eats the World: Netscape founder and VC Marc Andreesen has a must-read in the Wall Street Journal. It explains his simple thesis that the world is increasingly run by software companies. Even those not in the traditional software business are starting to get into it. On a basic level, Andreessen is quite selfishly defending the sky-high valuations assigned to the latest crop of tech companies. But the more charitable view is he’s hit upon a profound truth that in a world completely interconnected the big differentiator (and value creator) is the software running on top of it.

Tweet of the Day: PR guru Peter Shankman jokingly — we think — tweeted he’d like the steakhouse Morton’s to have a porterhouse waiting for him when he arrived in Newark on a flight from Miami. Wouldn’t you know but some enterprising folks at Morton’s were able to do just that, discerning that Shankman is a big cheese in the social media universe?

Why the WSJ Mobile App Sucks: Usability guru Jakob Nielsen is unsparing in his critique of the Wall Street Journal’s mobile application. It deservedly gets two stars (out of four) from users, he writes in a review. The reason is poor user design that has led many to believe they’ll have to pay twice — once for Web access and again for mobile. At a time when news organizations are so desperate to get readers to part with their money, you’d think they’d do a better job of explaining why and how. This bad intro screen, in Nielsen’s estimation, costs the WSJ millions in revenue.

The Google+ Traffic Test: Now that the smoke is beginning to clear from the launch of Google+, the question is whether it will lead to any large scale, sustainable shift from either Facebook or Twitter. So far, no. Both services recorded their biggest-ever-traffic months in July, hardly the hot time for most Internet services. Will Google+, which debuted in beta in late June, eat into that trajectory when ComScore rolls out its August numbers? We’ll have to wait about four weeks to find out. It wouldn’t be fair to expect that kind of shift in the first month.

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