Viewers who have cut the cord to traditional cable and satellite services hoping to watch most of their favorite shows on the video website Hulu the next day will be out of luck starting August 15, at least where Fox TV shows are concerned. That's when the network says it will begin limiting next-day streaming of its shows only to those who can show they they are cable or satellite subscribers. The cord-cutters will have to wait eight days to see those shows. Today's (Wednesday) New York Times reported that at least one other Hulu partner, ABC, is considering a similar move. The Times also observed that presently only Dish network is set up to authenticate subscriptions for broadcast networks, meaning that even cable TV subscribers will have to wait the eight days. News reports indicated that the Fox move was intended to safeguard Fox's retransmission agreements with cable distributors, many of whom are concerned about the possibility of losing subscribers to free Internet services like Hulu. (Fox confirmed later that the $9.95-per-month Hulu Plus service would not be subject to the eight-day delay.) But Peter Kafka, a columnist for AllThingsD.com, which, like Fox, is owned by News Corp, commented today (Wednesday) that the Fox move is "perfectly logical ... except for the part about it not working." In a column headed "Fox Kicks Off the Great Web Video Piracy Boom of 2011," Kafka notes that Fox television programs and those of the other networks are already available on numerous pirate websites often within minutes after they air -- and stripped of commercials. Hulu was intended to counteract those sites. "So why do the networks think this is a good idea?" Kafka asks. "They probably don't. But it's a way to prop the business up in the short-term, at the expense of the long-run."

27/07/2011