Fox Extends Cablevision Blackout To Hulu… Temporarily
from the doesn't-make-much-sense dept
These days, fights between the TV networks and cable providers are so common that we stopped bothering to report on them. Basically, every few months, there’s a fight over how much money should be paid to carry the networks, and the two sides get angry, a public relations brawl ensues with threats of channels being removed (or, the channels are removed for some time). Eventually a price is agreed upon between the networks and the cable providers… and the consumers pay more. Great, huh? Of course, some have been suggesting that these fights could drive the push for people to ditch cable altogether, and switch to going purely online.
Except, in the latest such fight, between Fox and Cablevision in New York, things took an odd twist, with Fox not just pulling its network from Cablevision, but somehow getting Hulu to block access to Fox shows to anyone accessing the site from Cablevision. Apparently, after people started asking questions, Fox/News Corp. changed its mind and let Cablevision subscribers view Fox content on Hulu again.
However, this does raise a bunch of pretty serious questions. First of all, why did Hulu consent to this move? If Hulu were serious about its offering, it wouldn’t agree to take part in a silly fight like this, singling out people on a particular ISP. Once again, though, this shows how Hulu is way too beholden to the content providers. Second, while this is not really a “net neutrality” issue, it’s somewhat surprising that Fox/News Corp. would take a step like this that undoubtedly will be talked about in “net neutrality” terms. Any move that specifically restricts content to a certain class of users isn’t going to be looked upon kindly. Finally, in what world did News Corp. think this was a smart move? Did they actually think that users would be so upset that they’d asked Cablevision to raise their bills to bring Fox on Hulu back? Of course not. They’re simply going to blame Fox (and Hulu) for pulling their shows.