We now have a videoplayer page. I’m sure the usability has been thoroughly tested, but the alignment of various graphical objects is a tad off. The site wisely accepts that black video players are now the norm.
cbc.ca/watch needs to redirect to
/video; anyone’s reasonable guess of an URL has to work. (Though I suppose
cbc/watch makes people think of John Spence.)
Launching a videoplayer in late ’09 with no captioning or description whatsoever is a great way to lose another human-rights complaint. This is a lesson the NFB learned well.
Hulu puts insane effort into getting captioning to work. But they put insane effort into everything – even optimizing the thumbnail images you see when you search for a performer inside a show. (Listen to a podcast by Hulu’s CTO.) Development is mostly done in China, by the way.
We all want Hulu in Canada. You want it, I want it, everybody wants it. Given a legit alternative, people will use it. Of course you can Bittorrent, but Hulu? It’s right there. It’s convenient. So why not?
Hulu is only in the States for two reasons – rights and money.
The rights problem is huge. Canada is known to be obstreperous in this regard. It took 20 months to launch the iTunes Music Store here, which Steve, in a Stevenote, attributed to rights (i.e., prima-donna copyright collectives).
“Money” here means “advertising.” This thing isn’t supporting itself in the States yet, by all accounts, though Hulu executives won’t admit it.
I think they consortium that owns Hulu is being wisely shy about expansion. They shouldn’t do the Web-startup thing and get too big too fast. They’re already huge, though only in one country. Anyway, the day will come: Hulu will go international. (TiVo did – eventually.) I’ve been checking various foreign domain names, and all the ones you’d expect are already registered. Basic plans are in place. Hulu will break free of the United States.
And CBC should be Hulu’s first broadcaster and investor in Canada.
Shock the system. Hulu investors in the States couldn’t be more commercial. They’re betting on the future. Those are dice that need to be rolled by a public broadcaster. Who do you want at the forefront of video technology in this country? Jim Shaw? The Aspers? Stursberg and Hubie aren’t exactly heroic, but aren’t they waaay better than the alternative?
Turn Privates into supplicants. Everybody’s gonna want in on this. If the Corpse is managing partner, the Privates have to strike deals with Hulu and CBC. A deliciously humbling reversal of the accepted order.
Add Canadian DNA. Getting this thing to work in French takes care of half the effort needed to get it working in any other language using Latin script. Part of the deal could be: We handle localization the first time, but we set it up so you can easily localize it a second or nth time. (Bonus: We set it up for different localizations of English and French.)
Start with maximum content. Upload every damned show we’ve got the rights to onto this thing, plus the entire CBC Archives. Make indie producers an offer they can’t refuse: If they’re willing to license to iTunes, they should be willing to do the same thing here.
If Hulu Canada had nothing but CBC “content” on Day 1, it still wouldn’t be a letdown. You’d have a shitload of programming to watch. (Then – again – supplicant Privates slowly add their own shows, making them look like laggards. Suddenly it becomes easier to stream the Privates’ stock U.S. shows in Canada, though, doesn’t it?)
Ads. Have CBC handle all the ad sales.
And yes, redirect everything to
hulu.cbc.ca. Seemingly preposterous.
Remember Sirius? Galaxie? This could be Sirius and Galaxie done right.
The problem is CBC never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Minor detail: This would cost tens of millions.