Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hulu Plus Hits 2 Million Users ... But Why?

I have Hulu Plus built into my TV and my Roku, and I used to watch a few shows on Hulu if I missed them on TV.

But then Fox (and FX) started delaying putting their shows on Hulu up, so that meant no Louie, Archer or The League. There aren't many shows on NBC or ABC that I am interested in.  

Some of the 'most popular shows' include Lost, Heroes and X-Files, so that seems to suggest a decent portion of the audience is watching or re-watching old shows.

I am curious about Morgan Spurlock's A Day in the Life program, but not enough to pay for it.  

Particularly if you have on demand from your cable provider, that is probably going to be a better option than Hulu for newer shows.

The one function I would say is better on Hulu is the ability to add shows to a queue and get alerted when new shows are put up, something Comcast on Demand is completely lacking. 

But I suppose it's a viable option for cord cutters, particularly those that are looking for a simple way to get network shows on to their 'smart' TVs or iPads without a lot of hassle.

HT: GigaOm

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why My 4S Is Definitely Using More Data

I traded in my my first iPhone (a 3GS) for the 4S last fall after two years. I just went over the 2GB data limit included in my plan for the first time last month, so there's no question in my mind that the 4S uses more data.

To AT&T's credit, they did send me some text messages warning me that I was about to go over my limit, but I found it impossible to reduce my data usage enough to not go over. I could have gone up to the 3GB plan for $5 more, but my hope is that I can reduce my data usage back to below 2GB and save $60 a year. My understanding is that once you guy up to the 3GB plan, you cannot go back down. 

To be clear, I wasn't using tethering or anything that I would think would use a lot of data either.

Why do I think my data usage has risen roughly 5x?
1) Apple has raised the data caps for 'over the air' downloads to 50MB: For the first time, I can download most, if not all, of the podcasts I listen to over the 3G network, instead of using Wifi or plugging into iTunes. I used this functionality at least two or three times last month, so it is likely that added 100-150MB to my data total. So whether you are updating apps or downloading media from iTunes, this can add up quickly.
2) iMessage: Since most of my friends are on iPhones, I am sending a lot more iMessages than normal SMS messages now. I sent almost 750 'texts' in December, and that number dropped to 128 in January. I have been averaging about 50 per month since then. Particularly because you can send photos through iMessage, this is something I need to be careful of. See reason #3.
3) The camera: The pictures I took with my old iPhone were usually pretty bad. Having a flash and better focus makes it a lot more likely that I will share photos on Instagram etc. For example, I went to an Orioles game on opening weekend, and uploaded a few images to Facebook. Plus, sharing a photo with some one who has a similar phone tends to make the viewing experience better.
4) Streaming: I'm fairly sure that my YouTube and Facebook streaming to my phone are up, although this is hard to quantify.
5) Siri: This is a fairly small part of the equation for me, but if you use it a lot, it will add up.

I can think of a few other reasons that my usage may have been slightly higher in this month (March Madness?) but I think these three are the main ones for me.

Have you seen your data usage rise with a new phone? If so, have you taken any steps to avoid going over your plans limit?

Update: Was interested to see that AT&T's average bill has gone down from $88 per month to around $80.  I assume this is because people are using less minutes and more data.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monetizing Free Content: Marc Maron Box Set

As it approaches it's 300 episode, the first 100 episodes of Marc Maron's 'WTF' will be re-released as a collector's edition box set for $50. Considering that premium episodes cost $1.99 each and are often broken up into two parts, this actually represents a pretty good deal.

Although I can't imagine there are huge profit margins for Maron, this seems like a great way to monetize content that was previously free while also giving fans something tangible. Bill Simmons' Grantland has done something similar with Grantland Quarterly, where they are converting some of their longer articles and/or blog posts into entries in a book.

I remember when the Nerdist podcast first got going, they did a limited-edition t-shirt. I'm actually kind of bummed that I didn't get one! Planet Money has also been talking about doing a t-shirt, but that project seems to have been bogged down.

It looks like This American Life has also put out CDs in the past, so it's not a huge surprise that Maron has taken a page from Ira Glass' playbook, whether it's live shows or box sets or a donation page.

Pre-order the CD at AST Records