Hulu and the End of Free TV

Some day, perhaps soon, analysts will look back on the past week as the beginning of the end of Hulu, at least as it was originally conceived. The web TV portal, which sought to blend video-on-demand functionality with a free-to-the-user broadcast monetization model has been hugely popular with consumers. But now, its architects are now bent on dismantling it.…

Read More

Irrational Exuberance Over E-books?

For a business that amounted to all of $113 million last year, e-books sure are getting a lot of attention these days. In just the past week we've had an announcement from Google, concerning its e-book e-commerce platform, Google Editions, a sneak peak at the new Plastic Logic Que and hints of a "dramatically different" e-book reader coming from iRex. This week, Barnes & Noble will take center stage with the unveiling of its much-anticipated branded reading device expected to look a lot like the new Alex from Spring Design. That all comes on the heels of recent announcements by Sony, Asus and Interead of new e-book readers and Barnes & Noble's previous unveiling of its online eBookstore. Some of the new e-readers aren't even on the market yet, but with so many big players chasing little business, can a shakeout be far behind?…

Read More

Evolution of the E-book Market

The emergence of a commercially significant electronic book (e-book) market in the past three years has been the result of two quite-recent technological developments. The first, and most critical, has been a breakthrough in the technology for manufacturing reflective electronic paper displays (EPDs), allowing for the introduction of affordable, lightweight and portable e-book readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader. The second has been the rollout of reliable “3G” wireless broadband networks, which have made it possible to deliver digital books directly to reading devices without the intermediate steps of downloading files to a PC and then transferring them to a reader. Direct-to-device sampling and delivery, particularly with Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPhone, have enabled impulse-driven e-commerce, which has been critical to early consumer adoption of e-books. The technology for e-books, however, remains nascent. The Kindle and its ilk are very much first-generation devices that deliver the minimally acceptable experience. Further development of the business will be closely tied to future technological developments, including flexible and color displays, format standardization and rich-media applications. As the market grows, there are numerous opportunities for other technology players, from social networks to cloud service providers and more. This report examines the trends and opportunities ahead.…

Read More