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Media Roundup: AOL To Be Spun Off, Hulu Launches Desktop Application and More

AOL to be spun off -- Last night, the board of Time Warner approved spinning off AOL into its own separate company. The spin-off had been planned for months, nearly ten years after the two companies completed the largest merger in American history. Time Warner will buy out Google's five percent stake in AOL in the third quarter, and AOL will retain its declining dial up business that still provides the company with $500 million a year [Source: Business Insider]
Hulu launches desktop application -- The streaming video service Hulu has announced the launch of a desktop application for PCs and Macs. The company has been blocking its content from other desktop application makers such as Boxee. Hulu refers to the software as a way to watch episodes on your computer from the comfort of your couch. The software also blocks all TV functionality to avoid competing with its broadcast counterparts. [Source: TechCrunch]

Alt-weeklies outsource entire issue -- Three Connecticut alternative weeklies have outsourced all of their editorial content to India for an issue. The cover of the papers reads: "Sorry, We've Been Outsourced. This Issue Made In India." The paper found Indian staffers by advertising on Craigslist. The paper said that although they edited the content for grammar, the voice of the outsourced reporters remained largely untouched. Last year, a paper in California received widespread industry criticism for outsourcing City Hall coverage to a reporter in India. [Source: AAN]

GigaOM launches subscription service -- GigaOm, the centerpiece of one of the Web's most popular blog networks, is beginning to offer a premium membership to help drive revenue. The program, called GigaOm Pro, will make premium content such as research reports and "expert opinions" to members for $80 a year. Blog content will still remain free. In an interview, founder Om Malik said his bloggers would have to be linked to the analysis as they evolve. [Source: Read Write Web]

Newspapers hold secret metting to charge for content -- Nearly a dozen top newspaper executives held a secret meeting in a hotel by Chicago's O'Hare airport to discuss alternative monetization options. The group met under the guise of the Newspaper Association of America to avoid anti-trust laws that prevent those holding large market shares in a single industry from getting together to discuss business. The discussion reportedly focused on building a paywall for the newspaper industry as a whole. [Source: The Atlantic]

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