Bits & Bytes: I need cable for Hulu?

It seems like cord-cutters (people who cut the cord to their cable or satellite providers and consume content through online services) can’t seem to catch a break. Content is either not available, or there is an eight-day delay (how am I supposed to catch up to a show to watch it live if I can watch it legally?), or worse yet the task of having to authenticate a cable or satellite subscription.

For many people Hulu seemed like an almost perfect free solution to cutting cable. Yes, people complain about the ads, especially if they have a paid subscription for Hulu Plus, but you are still getting the content you want when you want.

There is a rumor floating around that Hulu is looking into adding a subscription verification for some programing. That means that in order to watch certain content you have to confirm that you have cable. This is problematic, especially for cord-cutters.

Hulu is a joint venture of NBCUniversal, Fox Entertainment Group  and Disney-ABC Television Group and does not offer any content from premium channels like HBO and Showtime. Between those three companies they own just about all if not all the networks that have content on Hulu, so why does Hulu want to incorporate an HBO Go-like authentication system?

It makes sense for HBO to have an authentication system for their online service since they are a premium channel and they do not provide their content anywhere else. This model has actually worked out fairly well for HBO, but wouldn’t it make more sense to offer HBO Go to anyone who wants to pay for it?

Hulu’s model is based on people watching ads, so how does an authentication system help people watch ads? If anything it limits the number of ads people can watch, because they can’t get to the content they want to see.

Hulu seems to be a thorn in the side of the companies involved since it conflicts with the traditional television model that generates their large revenues.

As a result Hulu tends to have inconvenient changes made to almost try and force you to go back to your TV. Maybe this will work out Hulu, but it just doesn’t seem to make much sense right now.