Hulu Puts Gun To Own Head: May Require Users To Show Proof Of Pay TV Subscription
from the preserving-the-problem-to-which-they-are-the-solution dept
We’ve discussed in the past how Hulu’s owners — the major Hollywood/TV studios — absolutely hate that Hulu is actually useful and convincing people to watch TV online. Because of that, they’ve been trying to destroy Hulu. Hulu’s management — which mostly seems to understand the internet — tried to get out from under this potentially paralyzing ownership structure, but the studios (stupidly) telegraphed the message that they would block Hulu from getting their content, meaning that no one wanted to pay the ridiculous asking price.
Well, now it appears that phase one of making Hulu absolutely useless to people who might cut the cord from pay TV is going into effect, with plans to join the networks silly “TV Everywhere” setup and require users to have a pay TV subscription in order to access parts of the service. Hulu’s main (non-studio) investor, Providence Equity Partners, sold its shares last week because it heard about this plan and knew it was suicidal.
In no rational world would Hulu move in this direction on its own. Hulu’s key selling point is that it’s the go-to source for cord cutters, helping it build up a very large audience. Taking that crowd out of its audience makes it close to useless. While the studios love this because they make so much money from pay TV companies, it’s incredibly short-sighted in the long run. It’s pure protectionism of legacy revenues, done by sacrificing the one truly innovative platform they’ve invested in.
Meanwhile, along the same lines, the THResq story that we link to above also notes that NBC Universal will, once again, seek to marginalize its own online coverage of the Olympics, by also requiring proof of a pay TV service. Way to raise a giant middle finger to all the cord cutters out there — guaranteeing that they seek out alternative streams for which NBC Universal gets no money.