Audit Notes: French Capital, French Economists, Hulu’s Paywall

Bloomberg’s Mark Whitehouse is good to report that as the Eurocrisis flares again, with Spain in the spotlight now, investors have been creeping out of France for months:

As of February, the debts of the Bank of France to other central banks in the euro area stood at about 96.3 billion euros, up from 7.4 billion euros in July 2011 — a change of 88.9 billion euros. Such liabilities arise when people shift their deposits out of French banks into the banks of other euro-area countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The movements, which can broadly be described as capital flight, indicate Europeans are increasingly concerned that the currency union might break apart.

— It took a couple of French economists to give the U.S. its best source of data on income inequality, as Annie Lowrey of The New York Times reports in a nice profile of Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty:

Both admire, even adore, the United States, they say, for its entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit and, not least, its academic excellence: the two met while re-searchers in Cambridge, Mass. But both also express bewilderment over the current conversation about whether the wealthy, who have taken most of America’s income gains over the last 30 years, should be paying higher taxes…

As much as Mr. Piketty’s and Mr. Saez’s work has informed the national debate over earnings and fairness, their proposed corrective remains far outside the bounds of polite political conversation: much, much higher top marginal tax rates on the rich, up to 50 percent, or 70 percent or even 90 percent, from the current top rate of 35 percent…

“In a way, the United States is becoming like Old Europe, which is very strange in historical perspective,” Mr. Piketty said. “The United States used to be very egalitarian, not just in spirit but in actuality. Inequality of wealth and income used to be much larger in France. And very high taxes on the very rich — that was invented in the United States,” he said.

— Hulu’s paywall is booming.

The video service now has more than 2 million digital subscribers, adding half a million since January, and doubling in size in less than a year, GigaOm reports.

Kilar said the company is off to a faster revenue pace than last year, when Hulu grew revenue by 60 percent over the previous year to $420 million. He said the growth of Hulu Plus along with the robust online advertising market are helping accelerate Hulu’s revenue growth. Kilar said the $8-dollar-a-month Hulu Plus service is providing users with good value and the revenue is helping pay for more content, which is helping improve the service and make it more appealing.

GigaOm reports that Hulu says subscriptions will account for more than half its revenue by the end of the year.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,