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Hulu Should Be Better at What it Does

Why Doesn't FOX Want Us to Watch Its Programming?

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Late last week, a deal between FOX and DISH Network came to an end, leaving DISH Network subscribers without FX, FOX Sports, and the National Geographic Channel. FOX raised their rates and DISH didn’t want to pay. While the two companies continue negotiations, some of us wonder how we are going to watch the shows that we regularly enjoy. 

There are at least 5 shows I regularly watch on FX, and I have DISH Network, so naturally, this presents a problem for me. 3 of these shows are currently in mid-season. Now, I get to figure out where to watch the next episodes. My first thought was Hulu. They have FOX and (FOX-owned) FX content. I remember watching full episodes of "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia" there some time ago. I remember that they even had episodes a week after they aired. I can deal with that if I have to. 

Too bad they don’t do that anymore. 

Looking at that show’s page now, there are no full episodes available, let alone the newest ones. Now the show’s page on Hulu says they’re able to post new episodes 30 days after they air, starting later this month. The same goes for "The League". The Same goes for the "Sons of Anarchy". Awesome. Thanks Hulu. Thanks FOX. 

The League on Hulu

AdAge has an interesting and timely article about a speech given by Hulu CEO Jason Kilar this week. According to the article, he basically told the "big media" to either serve consumers or lose them. AdAge’s Nate Ives reports:

That’s particularly true because media consumption is basically an optional activity, he said. It’s habitual and important for most of us, he argued, but no one’s going to actually die if they don’t see the latest episode of "30 Rock." And within media, as the magazine publishers in the room were well aware, mushrooming options mean you’ve got to serve consumers or lose them. It’s no sure thing that a young person’s going to watch "The Amazing Race" instead of visiting Facebook. "Content is discretionary, so you better focus on convenience," he told the audience.

Convenience. What a concept. It seems like FOX is going out of its way to make it as inconvenient as possible for me to see the shows I watch. Meanwhile, DISH claims to be keeping up the fight

"We regret that FOX Networks, the owner of some Regional Sports Networks, FX and National Geographic Channel, removed their channels from the DISH Network line-up," the company says.  "FOX has demanded a rate increase of more than 50%. An increase this large would force DISH Network to pass these costs on to our customers, which we are unwilling to do during these tough economic times."

"DISH Network will continue to work tirelessly for a fair agreement in order to bring these channels back at the earliest possible time."

Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll bring the channels back in time to see episodes that haven’t even aired on Hulu yet, so we’ll either have to DVR them while we wait to be caught up. 

By the way, none of these shows are even available on Hulu Plus for $9.99 a month.

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  • Brad

    I’m surprised your article didn’t discuss the various other options to getting the latest episodes of shows within hours after they air. I am speaking, of course, of torrent sites that post the shows online. Users can download whole episodes–without commercials!–and watch them with sub-titles at NO COST. All they need is a fast Internet connection and links to the better FREE P2P sites such as Demonoid.com, eztv.it, and Torrentday.com.

    Talk about convenience! These sites basically serve as DVR systems with virtual and unlimited storage space. Plus, you can find full seasons of many old shows.

    This is the distribution channel that the networks need to understand. They have tried to put them out of business, but the sites always come back. Better to get on-board than fight the losing battle in courts.

    As for live coverage of sporting events, there are several streaming video sites (such as http://www.firstrow.net/) which feature all the sporting events one could want–including those on Fox.

    Viewers are no longer at the mercy of cable or Satellite TV…they have choices for most shows. The only exception is news and talk shows…which no one bothers to upload…YET.

    • Chris Crum

      These alternatives are certainly out there, and FOX is going probably gong to drive a lot of users right to them.

  • Ric

    Brad covers the P2P issue pretty well but the underlying dynamic is based on a convenience to cost factor. netflix understands this better than most and has made a lot of movie piracy irrelevant. What they base their success on is something I like to refer to as undeniable value. I am a movie fan and my measly $9 a month gets me more viewing goodness than anyone aside from piracy can compete with. How can they keep me away from free. A ton of ‘right now’ convenience that makes the little extra work of piracy not worthwhile. Now thats the business model you want to be affiliated with. Its also why Netflix stock has gone to $157 from $23 in a little less than 2 years. Insane value!

    • Chris Crum

      Netflix also has the delivery model down pretty well, as far as DVDs and Instant streaming to a growing number of supported devices. If only they had brand new content from FX…

  • Shawn

    While I can certainly understand the frustration, I have to wonder why this article takes a shot at Hulu. Considering Fox and Dish Network are fighting over rights, it seems pretty clear that the delay in broadcasting would be per Fox’s demands and not a result of a decision by Hulu. If anything, Hulu should be commended for being able to broadcast Fox shows at all.

    • Chris Crum

      I don’t hold Hulu responsible for the beef between FOX and DISH, but I see it as a place where FOX could still show its content to customers who get screwed out of seeing their shows. Hulu is part FOX.

  • Jane

    I just ended my contract early with Dish and switched to Directv. In case anyone else is planning on doing the same, email me at janewreede@gmail.com and you

  • Stu Taylor

    As mentioned above, FOX and Hulu are just truning people to alternatives like torrent sites, but there are also many other on-line options that do not require you to download anything. Cazzleberry has loads of full tv shows and are constantly adding the new episodes out

  • Adsense Publisher

    Does anybody wonder what the downside of offering the content for free is? I mean what if they simply allowed people to copy the shows in their entirety and host them on their own sites, commercials and all?

    • Guest

      The downside is losing billions of dollars and not having any money to make new shows. Basically the death of premium content as you currently know it

  • Guest

    Chris, this article demonstrates your lack of understanding of the online video space. Hulu would show episodes an hour after they first air. The problem is that fox and the show producers are reluctant to do that for fear of consumers cutting cable which represents a huge revenue stream for the channels. Fox is an equity investor in hulu but by no means is hulu a part of fox. Current run tv is very valuable and huge advantage for hulu over netflix streaming.