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How Much Does Hulu Gross per Show?

There are a few data points resulting from the unexpected news two weeks ago that Hulu made a profit in 2009.

  • $100M in revenue in 2009.

  • 903 million videos in January 2010.

  • Triple year over year growth in vids served

This implies 300M vids served in Jan 2009, and an average increase in 50M every month through 2009. An average of 600M per month over 12 months is 7.2B videos. $100M/7200M implies 1.3 cents of revenue per video served. If 50% is shared with owners, we're talking about 0.65 cents per vid served. Wow.

How much money should vid producers expect from this model, since it doesn't seem possible to use this Hulu to pay for a substantial portion of the costs of expensive television programming?

Indy Contractors & Fedex


Part 1 of Steven Greenhouse's "Working Life (High and Low)", adapted from his new book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, tells a sad story of Jean Capobianco, a Fedex route owner whose contract was terminated, after she failed to deliver her route's packages. She had developed ovarian cancer, but because she was an independent contractor, Fedex didn't have to make any accommodation for her. When she didn't find a replacement driver for her route (because, it seems, the available short-term replacement drivers wanted an arm and a leg), Fedex terminated her route, and she lost her truck when she couldn't make the payments.

She soon discovered that her new employer
[Roadway, not yet Fedex Ground] had embraced a controversial strategy to squeeze down costs by millions of dollars each year: it insisted that Jean and the other drivers were independent contractors, not employees. The I.R.S., New York and many other states are investigating this strategy, convinced that many companies use it to cheat their workers and cheat on taxes.

Now, Mr. Greenhouse is very cute about this.

First of all, there are a lot of particulars we don't about about that he does. I think that we should have been told that she started at Roadway in 1993, ten years before her route was terminated by Fedex. Presumably she was making decent money some of that time, or she would have tried to get out.

I Want to Work for the Tribune Company!

That was my gut reaction to the new lay-person-written Tribune company employee handbook.

“Because it’s always been done that way” and “because it’s a rule” and “because I said so” aren’t reasons for doing anything unless you’ve thought about it and it makes sense. There are many old rules and regulations and handbooks and manuals that will no longer be relevant to those working at the Tribune Company of today and the future. As we replace those, we consider this a fresh start.

Well, one of the old rules was, "Lawyers write employee handbooks." Breaking that one permitted breaking the rest. But "because it's a rule" is a reason for doing one thing: discovering why the rule exists, and how it fits into the complex culture built out of manners, morals, and laws.

I've long believed that Hayekians should scrutinize the processes by which social rules are formed and reformed. This is one of those signal events that subtly shift social rules, though we'll see if lawyers force a hasty retreat.

Always Low Prices!

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Wal-Mart has changed its slogan from "Always Low Prices, Always" to "Save Money, Live Better".

Unfortunately, already redirects to


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