The End of Free

10 05 2010

We all knew this day would come. Hulu has announced they will go down the inevitable route of paid services. And soon…

In late April, Hulu announced that they will begin implementing a paid subscription service as early as late May 2010. The website, which offers video streams of many popular television shows and movies, is owned by a conglomerate of giant media moguls NBC, News Corp., and Walt Disney Co. It usually hosts the five most recent episodes of select shows, and has limited commercials throughout the stream.

But all is not lost for those “free Internet” advocates. Hulu’s paid subscription, “Hulu Plus” will run about $10 per month, and offer additional episodes and services compared to their free service, which will still be available.

The main reason, as with any business, revolves around revenue. The limited commercials currently on Hulu pull in some advertising money, but the numbers are not as high as the owners’ would prefer (is it ever?). There is speculation that the free service will soon begin to show even more commercials, rivaling the amount currently shown on broadcast television.

But Hulu isn’t the only website to offer video streams of television shows. Nor will it be the first the offer a subscription services. Fancast, owned by Comcast, runs on a fairly similar model, offering free content. And Netflix has been charging for service from the beginning, but is doing very well.

I like to link the switch to the recent attempt of Spirit Airlines to charge for carry-on baggage. Others will wait and gauge the reaction, and then decide to either follow suit, or abandon the idea to keep their fan base.

The Internet has always been the home to “free” and many users want to keep it that way. While Hulu currently ranks #2 in online video streams (second only to YouTube), it is possible this subscription service could make that number drop dramatically.

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5 self promotion tools on the cheap

7 10 2009

So you have a business, or just promoting yourself, but trying to do it on the cheap, eh? No worries, there are plenty of awesome Internet and Web 2.0 tools available, all absolutely free of charge. And if you use them well, you can market yourself or service, or product, or whatever… and watch as the success follows.

1. Start a blog – There are a couple of free blog sites out there that are incredibly easy to start. Blogs allow you to express opinions, update and inform consumers, and help develop a voice that will be synonymous with you and whatever you are providing. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but try to avoid using the default theme and layout.
2. Facebook Fan page – According to Facebook, of their 300 million accounts, 10 million become “fans” of a page, every day. This will allow you reach a wider market of consumers, and possibly spread through word of mouth into the social network bloodstream.
3. Twitter – Even if you aren’t a big Twitter person, or don’t have quite a lot to say at any given moment, there is still a large audience base in Twitter, and people are following people who are following people… in a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon kind of way, you can reach millions of people and promote yourself in 140 characters.
4. MySpace – Now this is mainly for musicians, but it is essentially a free online portfolio, where audience members can find our bios, see pics, watch videos, and listen to your music. It is a great, easy account to jump into and lay out your goods for all to see, listen to, and enjoy.
5. YouTube – Viral videos are a tremendously successful way to advertise. It is impossible to know how exactly to make a video go viral, or how long it will hang around, but you do know for sure that if you are successful, it will result in a tremendous amount of free publicity, which is exactly what you are looking for.

So there you have it. Five very easy, very free tips and tricks to get your name out there, make connections, build a portfolio, and send yourself to all corners of the net and the world… all for absolutely nothing. Awesome!