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Brace yourselves for potential bad news, folks. There’s a rumor floating around that Hulu is going to start requiring its users to have a cable subscription.
If you’re anything like me, your first reaction was Uh, what? I thought the whole point of Hulu was that you could watch TV without needing to pay an arm and a leg for cable on top of that. Yes, you can pay for Hulu Plus to get additional video, full seasons, etc., but come on. Hulu is getting popular because people are cutting the cable line. What’s the point of the service if you need to have a cable subscription on top of it?
It’s like iTunes requiring you to own a CD before letting you purchase the music.
I can’t figure out what the reasoning here is. I mean, I can – money. The owners want their moolah...I’m just not sure how they’re going to get this through requiring Hulu users to have a subscription. If you look at some of the comments about this rumor, you see a lot of people basically guaranteeing they’re just going to walk away from Hulu and perhaps stick a toe into piracy.
Here’s the logic the disgruntled users employ: People don’t have trouble paying for content they want. The success of Netflix (up until it screwed around with its business model...Hulu owners, take note) and Hulu, up until now, along with iTunes, Amazon, etc., show that users do want to pay for stuff. Users only have two requirements:
1. They don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. Come on, guys, it’s digital.
2. They want access to it when it airs or shortly afterward. None of this “30 days later” stuff. This is the twenty-first century. Information travels almost instantaneously.
(On a side note, yes, I’m still pissed that I can’t watch Bridesmaids on Netflix Instant.)
Money matters aside, I’m sort of flummoxed by how unwilling the big copyright holders are to work with the current technology (and hell, the users themselves). Look, I’m a copyright holder. I have a couple of books out under a pseudonym, and the royalties help me pay the rent. I get my music through Amazon and iTunes, and I subscribe to Netflix and Hulu because while I do have cable at the moment, the shows/movies I like tend to veer from the mainstream.
I want creators to be paid for their work. But like many others, I don’t feel like I should have to jump through hoops to access that work. There’s no freaking reason for it. Charge me a subscription fee to your service if you want, and I am happy to pay for it. But requiring me to get another service on top of that? An extremely expensive service? Cable ain’t cheap, guy, which is one of the reasons so many are dropping it now that they have other options. Forcing us back to it...well, you guys can troll the web and read the comments for yourself.
I can’t help but feel this is a rehash of what already went down a decade or so ago. Didn’t the big companies try this with Napster, too? How’d that work out? Sure nipped that piracy problem in the bud, didn’t they?