Hulu to require Cable TV subscription

Bwaaahahahhaha! *snerk* Bwhaaaaaa!

Hulu, which attracted 31 million unique users in March under a free-for-all model, is taking its first steps to change to a model where viewers will have to prove they are a pay-TV customer to watch their favorite shows, sources tell The Post.

It's like they're trying to chase their customers away!

So lemme get this straight -- Hulu started out by having everything, but with ads that you can't even fast-forward through, and then they crippled it to only have many first-run things a week late, and then they crippled it again to only have one back-season... And did I mention that it still makes you watch ads that you can't fast-forward through... And then they added a pay service, Hulu Plus, which has some stuff that Hulu doesn't but doesn't have a lot of stuff that plain-old Hulu does have... which you have to pay for but that still has ads you can't fast-forward through.... and now they're going to change them so that you can't watch any of it -- even with ads -- without proving that you also subscribe to cable TV that you don't watch, even (one assumes) for things that originally aired over "free" network TV.

Are these guys acting as The Pirate Bay's PR and Customer Outreach department, or what? Have they been so thoroughly infiltrated?

Oh, and, "Don't let Pay TV be the Monster in your Living Room! If you want to stop Pay TV and save Free Televsion, sign the petition in the lobby of this theatre!"

Previously, previously.

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30 Responses:

  1. Acheron says:

    I believe the angel investors are pulling out leaving NBC as the owners...

  2. Andy Baio says:

    I kinda doubt Hulu wanted any of those changes. It's the devil's bargain you make when partnering with media companies that hate you and hope you fail. See also: Netflix.

  3. Cow says:

    I do wonder where this came from. Ads not making enough revenue, I guess, to even be worth it? I know it's Fox, NBC, and ABC that own it, so maybe they're hoping to just silently get rid of it? It's such a clusterfuck of an industry, top to bottom, I don't even know where to begin guessing.

    (In before a hundred comments of 'if you just spend 50 hours/day messing with a Linux box, MAGIC!' and a hundred other comments of 'but I am too cool to care about your tv nonsense, so let me tell you just how much I don't care for six paragraphs')

  4. You forgot the other excuse $9 for Hulu+ each month doesn't equal $75 for cable each month (or more if you have high speed and this new service)

    The move to cut the cord needs to spread, go bunny ears plus an off the shelf streamer, there is more than just Hulu and Netflix for streaming (meaning crackle and epix etc, not just torrent or pyrate)

    • gryazi says:

      Where can you buy bandwidth from a company that doesn't sell TV?

      (Keep fuckin' that chicken, AT&T.)

  5. Brian B says:

    Looks as if the owner networks are turning Hulu into their archive -- you go there for old episodes but you need to be a "subscriber" for access. Kind of like a news website's paywall. And they measure "subscriber" by a pay-TV account.

    I'm not saying it's a good idea, but it has a certain sort of logic if you squint just right.

    • pavel_lishin says:

      Right, except - as a particularly annoying example that's lead me straight to the pirate bay - I can only see season two of Bob's Burgers.

      It's less of an archive and more of an echo.

  6. maybe they're hoping to just silently get rid of it?

    I think this is the safest assumption. I've seen little or no evidence to argue against the theory that at the executive levels, the major studios and networks really really really really believe that the genie can be stuffed back into the bottle: if they keep fiddling around, they'l hit on the magic formula that will make us all go back to paying $120/month for cable and buying hundreds of dollars worth of DVDs every year on top of that.

    At this point, I'm just assuming that we're going to need to wait another 20 years for a generation of these guys to just die off already before we'll see anything approximating a sane digital distribution strategy from any of them. By which time, it might well be too late: who's gonna be the first big-name director/producer to take a stab at kickstartering their own feature film or miniseries? We're already past the inflection point on a pure cash basis: the money raised for Pebble + Wasteland2 + (unnamed DoubleFine adventure game) could easily fund a couple episodes of Slingers.

  7. Jake Nelson says:

    Considering Hulu has never existed for me anyway because it lacks the basic capability to buffer properly when paused... I welcome their imminent demise.

  8. Allison Smith says:

    I've not had cable for years...just bunny ears, because I refuse to pay for something that costs me $100 a month that doesn't allow me to choose which channels I want. Sure they have different packages, etc, but how many Lifetime-like channels does one really need (in my opinion none). Hulu has never had shows in a timely enough fashion, nor do they have enough back episodes of something, if I'm late to the party. It's sad that there is becoming really no outlet for people like me to watch things that aren't aired on channels like NBC, CBS, Fox, CW, or ABC (those channels I get through the air, for free).

  9. It's not clear how legit this actually is. Of three reputable sources online discussing this possible change by Hulu, Mashable seems to have the clearest head, basically saying that what Hulu is actually doing is adding new sources of content and negotiating how that content might be made available to viewers. (So some new Fox content that is not currently available on Hulu might be made available using the TV Everywhere model.)

    In other words, Hulu is trying to get better by adding more content.

  10. Jeremy Wilson says:

    If you think this is bad, you should see the wasteland of 2nd run, 10-year-old movies and bad TV shows that Neflix Canada is, due to copyright woes. America actually has it good compared to the rest of the world.

    It's only $8 so I pay for it to at least support the idea of Netflix, but there is basically nothing worth watching on it except documentaries.

    • Leolo says:

      First, Zip.ca. Secondly,I take exception to "except documentaries."

      • Jeremy Wilson says:

        zip.ca streaming is "coming soon." As for your exception, to clarify, I'm saying the only thing worth watching on Netflix Canada is docs, but even then the selection is thin.

        • Leolo says:

          Ach streaming! When I hear "netflix" I think physical media. I seem to be living more and more in the past.

  11. Jackson says:

    I don't know why everyone's complaining. When I bought my motorcycle the other day, the sales person said the pre-requisite for buying one was a car. Big deal, right? So I had to take out my car invoice to prove I was a car owner. No sweat off my back! It's like last week, when I ordered cereal from Amazon, and they required I show Proof of Milk Ownership. Big deal, these guys are just looking out for our best interest. Why would anyone want to buy cereal if they didn't already have milk? Oh, so you use Almond Milk? Sorry, sucker. This cereal's not for you!

    You probably didn't even know you needed cable TV, did you? Well now you know… and you're better off for it. What if we all got to spend our money on the things we loved? What kind of world would that be? That $160/mo for cable TV funds the reality shows and cop drama's that we want our kids watching. Don't want to pay for the 90% filler channels just so you can get the 4-6 channels that deliver, good, scripted programming? Shut up, you big whiner! Take HBO for example… I love their original programming, but let's get real: It would be total shit by itself, if it wasn't also bundled with 172 channels of reality programming, about fat people who love their OCD pets, but can't leave the house for fear of the coming internet-nazi-robot-armageddon.

    • Your motorcycle example would be more amusingly absurd if it wasn't for being told that I had to have car a home insurance before I could get motorcycle insurance.

      • Jackson says:

        Wow, how ridonkulous. You're right, motorcycle insurance is strange… and unique to each state (more unique state-by-state than car insurance).

  12. Eric says:

    My wife actually hates bluray at this point because every single disk is packed with these hoops and thanks to added layers of DRM crap and custom UX just getting to what she wants to watch is a PITA. At least with the cruft on DVD skipping around was at least zippy, bluray it's egregiously slow.

    We have not had cable for years, keep Netflix around mostly for the kids programming, and have a DVR for OTA HD. I know how to pirate the content, but I just don't care enough to do so for 99% of the life sucking crap thats out there, I have better ways of wasting an hour.

  13. Owen says:

    I had already cancelled Hulu Plus after giving it an honest chance because of the incredible increase in ads and the issues with episodes being posted slowly. South Park was a good example, because they showed three ads, then the opening sequence, then three more ads, then the show started. When you use the South Park website, the shows start up instantly.

    I'm willing to put up with bluray crap because the video/audio quality is so much better than streaming. If netflix offered great movies streaming in 1080p with DTS audio, sure I'd stop renting blurays from them, but I don't see that happening.

  14. "Cunthammer".

    That is all.

  15. phuzz says:

    Makes paying my TV license seem sensible.

  16. nooj says:

    Even after decades, it blows me away how little the major media companies understand how people want to consume media. It's a shame they have Jack Valentis and Chris Dodds instead of Steve Jobss. I would have thought they would at least start copying iTunes, Netflix, DVR boxes, etc., if not create media that is truly interactive. There is no reason TV can't mimic live improv.

    From Bill Cosby: "You could talk to Buck, and he would really hear you!"

  17. LafinJack says:

    Dear Hulu,

    Let me give you my money.

    You charged $8 a month for more content and half as many ads. Let me pay you not $10, not $15, not $16, but $20 a month for no ads! I think the advertising term past Plus is Premium, so let me buy that from you.

    Also, don't tell me you have X show, then tell me I can only watch that show on my computer and not my Roku. That's just stupid. Fix your rights issues. Remember, I want to give you my money, but I have no reason to pay you unless you're selling something I can use.

    There was something else I wanted to complain about with you, but because of the above reasons I haven't had your service for quite a while and I forgot what it was.

    Thanks,

    Me

    • Elusis says:

      This, exactly. I burned through "Misfits" and so when this season of "Community" and "Modern Family" goes into reruns and House is cancelled, HP has nothing to offer me since they can't stream Burn Notice to my Roku and Justified isn't offered this season.

    • captain18 says:

      The day I can drop some coin on MLB/NFL/NHL/NBA/WTF/BBQ and decide on an idle Tuesday that I want to watch Ernie Banks play two, that Bears/Packers game where the Fridge got a TD pass just to piss off the cheeseheads, or Jordan's first game in a Bulls uniform, that will be glorious. I'm not even that big of a sports guy, I'd just like to be able to dip into the archives at will. I can't be the only one.

  18. mikecotton says:

    "Tell me, friend; just how effective are those buggy whips at driving your horses back into that stable?"