There’s no other way to ensure your success than to tell everyone a month before your private beta launch that there will be failure in your new service. Announced last month, YouTube-rivaling Hulu.com will have failures, as George Kliavkoff, NBC Universal’s chief digital officer, told MediaPost (speaking at the Online Media, Marketing & Advertising conference Monday):
“The most important thing is to not be presumptuous about what’s going to work,” Kliavkoff said.
But to fail successfully, he added, you have to fail fast in order to quickly identify your errors and cut your losses. Success involves setting up “processes to fail fast,” he said.
In all seriousness, setting the bar low can be a good strategy. If it fails, then you can say, “Well, we warned you.” If it succeeds, then you can act as though it’s a pleasant surprise. But is it really a good idea to use the word “failure” to the press weeks before beta launch?
Kliavkoff also gave a more positive preview of not only Hulu but NBC’s other future offerings:
When the site launches next month, visitors can expect more tools for experiencing and engaging with videos, higher-quality videos, and the ability to take “something”–most likely content–away from the site.
According to Kliavkoff, the single biggest opportunity for NBC is mobile, while the current revenue split makes it hard to pay for the creation of suitable content.
“Think what your cell phone means to you as opposed to your TV,” he suggested to the audience.
There’s good news for marketers here. MediaPost reports that his “message to marketers” is “Anything you want to try, we’ll try it with you.” They already plan on utilizing broad distribution as well as incentives designed to increase the site’s stickiness. If those measures aren’t among the failures, both could be a boon to marketers working with Hulu.
Kliavkoff also believes that marketers could benefit more from working with Hulu than, say, I don’t know . . . YouTube? He said, “at the end of the day, premium, produced content wins.” MediaPost reports that this statement was “particularly for marketers.”
MediaPost draws a parallel between new TV shows that flop and online efforts that flop. What do you think: is it a valid comparison? Or is there more pressure to get things right online?