Broadband Content Bits: Hulu In 2009; CBSi's 'Heckle-U'; Pirated Sports Streams; Blinkx' Un-roll

This story was written by Tameka Kee.
Hulu's 2009 resolutions : Hulu's plans for 2009 don't include fundraising or downloads, CEO Jason Kilar told Mediapost. Instead, the NBCU-News Corp (NYSE: NWS) JV will focus on developing better video search and ad targeting technology, personalization features like recommendation apps, and global expansion. Why skip downloads? Kilar explains: "The notion of downloading heavy files to a device that takes up a lot of space is something that had value several years ago when we were not connected all the time. So, the bigger opportunity for users is to focus on the streaming part of the business." He also said that Hulu did not need to raise additional capital.

*CBS* Interactive to launch college basketball-themed series "Heckle-U" : CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS) will roll out "Heckle-U," its latest original web series, in February. Tied to the network's NCAA March Madness coverage, the 10-episode series centers on a slacker who takes pleasure in heckling players during games.  The show, sponsored by P&G through product placement, stars Tom Arnold and "Punk'd" actor Owen Benjamin, according to THR. "Heckle-U" is produced by Nu Media Studios, the digital production house and management company launched by former ICM digital head Michael Kernan

Sports leagues struggling with pirated game streams : Professional sports leagues once focused on keeping pirated photos and game clips offline, but the problem has shifted to streams of whole games, the NYT reports. Complicated deals between the leagues and the cable and broadcast networks often keep specific games off the air, leaving fans in the darkand they're increasingly turning to pirated streams to catch them. "We never felt that the jewel in our crown, the live games, would be vulnerable," Ayala Deutsch, the NBA's SVP and chief IP counsel told the Times. Execs from sports leagues around the world recently met at the NBA's NY offices to discuss live game anti-piracy measures, including ideas like brokering legitimate deals with P2P streaming services (which the NBA has done in China). But don't expect to see the leagues going after individual stream uploaders. general counsel Michael J. Mellis told the Times: "I'd like to think we've learned some cautionary lessons from the music industry. What is the utility in suing individuals who are part of a larger chain of events?"

By Tameka Kee