Hulu may force viewers to prove they are pay TV subscribers

Summary:A new plan would require users of the streaming video service to start authenticating that they are pay TV customers before they can watch programming.

The "alien plot" that is Hulu (according to its whimsical commercials) may be taking a more nefarious turn, if a new report in the New York Post is to be believed. That's because Fox, Comcast (which owns NBC), and Disney (which owns ABC) apparently want users of the streaming video service to start authenticating that they are pay TV customers before they can watch programming.

The reasoning behind what would be a seismic shift in Hulu's strategy is obvious: The broadcasters make a lot more money from traditional TV viewership than people watching episodes online, where ads are fewer and cost less. Requiring a cable or satellite subscription would make sure people aren't using Hulu in order to "cut the cord" from pay TV.

While the Post says it could takes years for Hulu to be able to implement the authorization plan, the effects of the strategic pivot have already started to be felt, as Hulu partner Providence Equity Partners cashed out of its stake after the new model was hatched. And though ad revenues are climbing for Hulu, they could collapse if the number of users is sliced by the authorization plan.

Ultimately, that might be fine with the remaining partners, along with other pay TV providers, which would rather have you use their new and forthcoming streaming options (as part of your monthly subscription) than receive lower advertising fees from Hulu.

Would requiring authorization strangle Hulu? Would you still use the service (or even be able to use the service) if it required authorization? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.

[Via Gizmodo]

Topics: Hardware

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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