Hulu to go mobile

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar last week said his company will next push into the mobile space, possibly across several platforms. When asked about supporting an Apple tablet before the iPad launch, Kilar made it clear that his TV streaming service will "embrace any device" and won't lock itself into supporting any one platform. Kilar said his company’s mobile solution would be complementary to the desktop rather than detrimental.

While Apple may be big enough to go it alone, a content distributor like Hulu needs to put its product on as many screens as possible. That would require the company to support a range of smartphones including Android, iPhone and tablet applications.

The current Hulu platform is limited to streaming Flash-based video with interstitial ads. Putting content on multiple screen types means Hulu would need to develop multiple format streams to feed incompatible media players and smartphones — some of which don't support Flash.

Given that Apple has refused to include Flash on its new iPad, Hulu could gain some marketing advantage by placing platform-friendly video on as many types of handheld screens as possible. Adobe’s upcoming Flash 10 for smartphones might be an effective solution as it will work on Android, Symbian, webOS and Windows Mobile platforms.

Couric pay cut coming?

According to a Feb. 3 story from "The Drudge Report," CBS news anchor Katie Couric may face a pay cut. The Drudge background story claimed that CBS president and CEO, Les Moonves, is looking to further cut network expenses. Couric’s reported $14 million per year salary may be an early target for the ax.

The story said that some CBS news staff are eager to see her salary reduced. Said one, "She makes enough to pay 200 news reporters $75,000 a year! It's complete insanity."

Couric’s salary averages out to about $300,000 per week. Some view that as a lot of money for reading a 30-minute news script. But then, "perky" is expensive.

Of course, Moonves could consider cutting his own reported $70 million a year compensation. Eliminating his salary would allow CBS to hire almost 1000 news reporters.

That’s what it might take for the network to improve on its third place standing in the latest Nielsen ratings for broadcast news.

FCC to broadcasters: Your clock is ticking

The reporting from the CongressDailyAM (subscription) said that “Despite growing opposition in Washington and strong resistance from television stations, the FCC is proceeding with a controversial plan to reallocate a significant portion of digital airwaves to wireless carriers.”

The commission asked for, and received, a delay in submitting its broadband solution. Reports that may suggest that television broadcasters greatly alter their business and technical models have created confusion and concern in broadcast circles.

The NAB/MSTV, CEA/CTIA have a filed a series of claims and counterclaims with the FCC on what might be possible with spectrum reallocation and the effect that might have on viewers. Washington politics will figure high in the ultimate solution.

The FCC is scheduled to present its broadband solution to Congress on March 17.

YouTube rents movies

Jan. 20, the company says “a small collection of rental videos from other U.S. partners across different industries, including health and education, will be made available in the weeks ahead.

Jan. 23, BusinessWeek reports that YouTube is offering a model where the film studios and independent filmmakers can decide how much to charge for their rentals. YouTube would then take a cut of the rental price.

Feb. 2, YouTube made its first foray into movie rentals with a lineup of five films from the Sundance Film Festival. According to "The New York Times," the total revenue from those five films amounted to $10,709.16.

Said YouTube representative Chris Dale to "The New York Times," “It definitely exceeded our expectations given all the barriers.”

Success depends on where you set the goal.

Ex-NAB CEO becomes commentator

George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management announced the hiring of former NAB president and CEO David Rehr as a media commentator for the school. Readers will remember that Rehr’s brief four-year stint at NAB was marked by multiple legislative failures. Rehr first assumed his NAB duties in December 2005.

Many thought the former beer association president would be a good fit for the broadcast association. However, after a rocky performance, Rehr resigned suddenly in May 2009. He was replaced by former Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith.

A George Washington University press release said that Rehr will serve as an adjunct professor and as a member of the school's Council of American Politics. "David brings exceptional experience with his nearly 30 years of political work and academic credentials to offer insight on national political and policy questions," said Charles Cushman Jr., the graduate school's acting executive director. "His experience at the helm of the National Association of Broadcasters has, and will continue, to serve the GSPM well."

Of course if that gig fails, he still knows how to make beer.

It’s not the “public’s spectrum”

Word choice matters. Sometimes what is spoken reveals things that were meant to be unsaid.

This may apparent in a recent statement by the FCC’s director of energy and environment on the National Broadband Task Force, Nick Sinai. Sinai is involved in identifying ways to use spectrum to develop a nationwide smart electric grid. During an interview with, he said, “Just looking at data growth for iPhones and other devices, you can see broadband in America will increasingly be a wireless solution, so spectrum will be a core issue we will be handling in the national broadband plan."

He continued,"[We] have a spectrum crisis, so we don't want to look at this in a smart-grid only way." There’s that crisis thing again.

What was eerily telling in his interview was how his agency views what most of us working in the broadcast industry would call “the public spectrum.” Sinai said, “As we're thinking about ways to clear or share federal spectrum (emphasis added) we want to think about it in context of all the possible uses of that spectrum," he added.

Federal spectrum.

Hmm..If the public’s spectrum is really “federal spectrum,” does that mean an administration can do anything it wants with it? Word choice matters.