With the future of streaming media at stake, Hulu has reportedly considered withholding its services from non-paying TV customers.
“In fact, the move by Hulu toward the new model -- called authentication because viewers would have to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number -- was behind the move last week by Providence Equity Partners to cash out of Hulu after five years,” the New York Post reports, citing sources
“The ‘alien plot’ that is Hulu (according to its whimsical commercials) may be taking a more nefarious turn,” ZDNet quips. “The reasoning … is obvious: The broadcasters make a lot more money from traditional TV viewership than people watching episodes online, where ads are fewer and cost less.”
“Hulu and its content providers have talked about this move toward authentication since 2009,” TechCrunch reports. However, “Our source noted that Hulu has no interest in being a first mover here and that a requirement for authentication is likely still a few years out.”
“It’s not just Hulu making it tougher for cable-cutters to stream shows and other content,” according to The Post. “Fox … is expected to begin talks soon with Comcast on a TV Everywhere deal that will require authentication,” while Comcast is reportedly planning to switch to an authentication model for this summer’s Olympic Games.
Ultimately, “Hulu … does want to be a good partner and may have to give in to its partners’ pressure soon or later,” TechCrunch adds, citing sources. What’s more, “What could happen relatively soon is that the content providers could require longer delays before their shows become available on the service for non-subscribers.”
“And is all this happening because it’s more difficult or expensive to deliver TV to consumers?” GigaOm asks. “No. It’s actually cheaper and easier once TV moves to an IP system … But once this happens, if there are no artificially created barriers in place thanks to licensing deals … then consumers might go over the top and along the way distort the power structure and economics of the TV industry. And no one in the industry wants that.”
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