COMMENTARY | Thinking of cutting the cable cord? You may want to hold those scissors. The New York Post reports Hulu will require viewers have a cable or satellite subscription to view content, and it's going to make you prove it. There will be an authentication system put into place over the next few years that could make a complete severing from cable far less attractive.
As it stands, under the "TV Everywhere" initiative, users would have to enter their paid TV service account numbers to get access to Hulu's currently free content. Originally touted as a way to make paid cable shows available online when it debuted in 2009, "TV Everywhere" seems to have, predictably, lost the distinction.
According to Fox Business, Hulu's authentication program will include network programming. Currently, depending on availability, Hulu offers the most recent episodes of most network shows for free. If you pay for Hulu Plus, you can get entire seasons of a bunch of shows.
Under the new plan, you'll have to prove you're a paying cable or satellite customer to get access. Not to watch "Game of Thrones" or "Dexter" or "Psych" but to watch the latest episode of "Community."
No doubt cable companies want to retain their subscribers. One study estimates 2.65 million customers cut their service from 2008 to 2011.
If you're a person looking for entertainment in a tough economy, streaming services seem like the answer. With an average cable bill of $86 per month and claims that cable bills could hit an average of $200 per month in 2020, as a consumer, I'd have to say: Ouch.
It's interesting that Hulu is onboard with gatekeeping for cable companies, but with $420 million in ad revenue last year, according to the Post, maybe it knows what it's doing.
Then again, anyone else remember when Netflix radically changed its business model? Hulu might want to check out that ghost of business blunders past. You know, just in case.
- Arts & Entertainment