September 2, 2015 - Comments Off on Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version

Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version

Beginning today, subscribers can upgrade to an ad-free plan for $11.99 per month…

Whoo hoo! I immediately changed my plan over to the ad-free version. I can now catch up on some of the shows that have been sitting in my queue for awhile that I’ve been dreading to watch, simply because of the commercials.

Buuuut…there is the fine print:

This show is not included in our No Commercials plan but has been made available to you with a short commercial before and after each episode with no interruptions during the show.

I’m still OK with that…mostly.

The next big thing Hulu needs to do is standardize it’s catalog. They have way too many shows with “exceptions”. I’ll give you some examples…

FX is very confusing…

  • The Strain - You can watch all of season 1, but none of the current Season 2 episodes
  • Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll - You can watch the latest episode from this season, but only with a cable subscription
  • Archer - only seasons 1-5 available; even though season 6 already aired, it’s not available
  • American Horror Story - Only seasons 1-3 are available; even though season 4 already aired, it’s not available and season 5 starts soon on FX
  • The Americans - Only clips are available. If this is the case, why even have it show up on the site at all?

FOX is a bit better…

  • Gotham - You can only watch the last 5 episodes along with episodes the day after they air
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine - You can watch all of seasons 1 and 2 along with episodes the day after they air
  • Bobs Burgers - All of season 5 along with episodes the day after they air
  • Mindy Project - Seasons 1-3 are available with season 4 airing exclusively on HULU.

…although…

  • Hell’s Kitchen - You can watch Seasons 1-11, 13 and new Season 14 episodes the day after air

CW seems to be the easiest to understand…

  • The Flash, Arrow, The 100, The Messengers, Beauty & the Beast - You can only watch the last 5 episodes along with episodes the day after they air

Here’s my recommendation hulu:
Focus on providing the ultimate cord cutters package - the last 5 episodes from each show on all 4 broadcast networks; no cable subscription needed. Stop worrying about back catalogs, full seasons, or previous seasons. If a user wants the full season from a past year, let them find the disc on Netflix.

Source: Hulu Finally Launches Ad-Free Version, Priced at $11.99 a Month | Adweek

September 1, 2015 - Comments Off on Top 3 Slack Requests

Top 3 Slack Requests

Back in March I wrote about some of the obstacles we’ve faced as a department in adopting Slack as our go-to communication platform. Six months later and email is still the overwhelmingly biggest hurdle to overcome, but we’re making strides. We’ve done several projects in Slack and it’s now a bit clearer what we need in order to make Slack a full time platform.

1) Nested Channels

We use different channels for each project. So our setup looks something like…

#project 1
#project 2
#project 3

But with this setup comes the inevitable overload within each channel. Because our department handles multiple types of deliverables for each project, someone from digital might be talking over someone from print who is waiting on an answer, and the on-air person is being flooded with notifications from both because they also need to be in the channel. I know users can adjust their notifications through muting and other settings, but we’ve had to take even more drastic measures. We’re testing the idea of creating multiple channels for each part of the project, which creates something like this…

#project 1-print
#project 1-digital
#project 1-onair

That’s going to triple the number of channels but it solves a lot of our overload issues. But what would be even better is if we could have nested channels within a main channel, something like this…

#project 1
#onair
#digital
#print
#project 2
#onair
#digital
#print
#project 3
#onair
#digital
#print

2) Nested Comments

When you upload a file format such as a JPG or PDF, Slack provides a way to comment directly on the posted file. But when you post a link or make a normal comment, Slack doesn’t have a way to respond directly. They just implemented “Reactions” but that doesn’t help when someone asks a question and the answer is 6 comments below. It would be fantastic to comment directly on someone else’s comment.

3) Administrators can “move” comments

Slack already allows users to edit their comments. But with so many new people trying to figure Slack out within our department, most people simply type wherever and whenever they feel like it. Nevermind there are nested comments for uploads. People will simply comment about a photo that was uploaded 7 posts ago, but because they didn’t comment directly on the photo, no one has any idea what they’re referring too. Or a bigger issue is people not knowing there is a specific channel for exactly what they’re talking about but are posting in a very general channel. Because of these issues, I’d love the ability as an Admin to simply “move” a person’s comment or post into the appropriate channel. While I definitely don’t want to get into be the “cop” of the department, this would simply be a way for me to gently nudge people into using the tool correctly.

Take Away

These are just my gut answers to problems we’re facing everyday. I’d like to think Slack is already thinking about these issues and coming up with even more ingenious ways of solving them. It’d be great for Slack to publicly post a list of problems they’re tackling, even if they don’t have any due dates, simply to know they’re thinking about the problems their users are experiencing.

August 28, 2015 - Comments Off on iOS 9’s Content Blockers Are A Reckoning

iOS 9’s Content Blockers Are A Reckoning

Adblock usage grew by nearly 70% between June 2013 – June 2014.

Ad blocking is something that keeps growing by leaps and bounds every year, so I for one, am really looking forward to iOS 9's content blockers and what they'll do for mobile browsing.

Think of Content Blockers like this…

Remember when Dish Network launched the ad skipping feature called Auto Hop and content providers freaked out? Yeah, iOS 9's content blockers are going to do the same thing for mobile web browsing and I am so excited.

p.s. Do yourself a favor and download both AdBlock Plus and Ghostery for your desktop/laptop browser and watch how FAST the web really is without all the ads and tracking software killing the experience.

Source: 2014 Report – Adblocking Goes Mainstream | Inside PageFair

July 15, 2015 - Comments Off on Snapchat has become a Wild West of sponsored content

Snapchat has become a Wild West of sponsored content

via The Verge…

This is a new kind of ad campaign, one that has become increasingly popular on Snapchat. It works by the same basic logic as traditional ads: Shonduras has an audience, just like Time magazine or The Today Show, and Taco Bell wants to tell that audience about its new dessert. Since it's a valuable audience, they're willing to pay for the privilege, often as much as $100,000 for an involved story like this one.

There are many challenges with working in a non-profit business like PBS, but not having to endure this sort of nonsense in our Marketing dept is one I greatly value.

Source: Snapchat has become a Wild West of sponsored content | The Verge

The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.

-Stephen McCranie

The Master Has Failed, #

July 13, 2015 - Comments Off on Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

Xfinity's new $15/mo. streaming service…

With Stream, Xfinity Internet customers can watch live TV from about a dozen networks - including all the major broadcast nets and HBO - on laptops, tablets and phones in their home. It includes thousands of on demand movies and shows to watch home or away and even comes with access to TV Everywhere and a cloud DVR

The price, the channel selection, the DVR…this is very intriguing and possibly the best match of services and price yet. The only drawback, for me, is the lack of any TV support. I'd have to use Airplay with the service as it's currently setup. But if Xfinity came out with an AppleTV channel for this, I think they'd have the best service on the market. That is, if this deal isn't some sort of 12 month intro price or other sneaky scheme.

Source: Introducing a New Streaming TV Service From Comcast

July 10, 2015 - Comments Off on Fox Nets $40 Million in Women’s World Cup Ad Revenue | Adweek

Fox Nets $40 Million in Women’s World Cup Ad Revenue | Adweek

via AdWeek…

Fox netted roughly $40 million from Women's World Cup ad sales, according to an industry source, a figure that more than doubled the company's initial revenue estimates for the tournament and is five times more than the $8 million ESPN raked in for its coverage of the 2011 Women's World Cup.

More than $12 million of Fox's revenue came from Sunday's final alone—25.4 million viewers tuned in to see the U.S. beat Japan 5-2, making it the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history.

Strange because I don't remember a single ad from Sunday's match. If fact, I remember actually thinking, "How is FOX making any money with no commercials during the game?" So what does that say? That the "integrated marketing" was so good I didn't even notice it? Or that the "integrated marketing" was too good and I didn't even notice it!

Source: Fox Nets $40 Million in Women’s World Cup Ad Revenue | Adweek

June 30, 2015 - Comments Off on I Wish…iPhone had geofenced call forwarding

I Wish…iPhone had geofenced call forwarding

I don't get very good cellular reception in my office and so I tend to miss phone calls. All I get is a notification that I have a voicemail. That can be terrible when you're waiting on a doctor's call or any number of other situations. I also don't enjoy talking on my cell phone when I'm at home and would prefer to talk on a normal landline phone.

I wish my cellphone could realize where I'm at and then forward all my calls to a certain number. Currently, call forwarding is an all or nothing premise. You can turn it on inside the Settings app but only select one phone number. I'd love to be able to set up locations, such as "work" or "home" and then select specific numbers for those locations to forward my calls.

June 25, 2015 - Comments Off on Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty

Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty

Jason Lynch for AdWeek…

Hulu said it made the change after noticing that consumers were confused about the Hulu and Hulu Plus brand distinctions, with Hulu being the far more recognizable brand of the two. By eliminating Hulu Plus, the company hopes to create a consistent brand and alleviate—not cause—market confusion.

I think that's the right call by Hulu. We had many discussions at PBS when we were launching products for XBOX, Hulu, AppleTV and many more about what to call our service. HBO had a very strong brand with HBO GO and other networks were beginning to roll out their services with names like FX NOW and Showtime Anytime. But ultimately we felt PBS didn't need a secondary signifier1. After all, this was still PBS - same great content but on a different platform. A viewer/user just happened to be watching it on their AppleTV or iPhone, which is why all our apps and OTT services are simply named PBS2.

My personal feeling is that by segmenting your brand into different services with different names for the same content is going to cause confusion in the long run with viewers and consumers. I think HBO is seeing a bit of that now with HBO, HBO GO, and HBO NOW. Try explaining the differences between them to the average person.

Source: Showtime and Hulu Explain Why Their Brands are Pulling Double Duty


  1. That's not to say, that in the future, if PBS has a service that is different from it's normal content, we won't create a marketing name for that service. 
  2. Our marketing campaign was called "PBS Anywhere" - not to be confused with the actual product which is just named PBS. It was meant to convey the message that PBS is "anywhere you want to be".