Rumor: Hulu could force users to prove they pay for TV

Do you enjoy watching shows like Fringe or Family Guy via Hulu after they are shown on TV? Well, if you do, and if you are not using a cable or satellite TV provider, you might be out of luck at some point in the future. The New York Post reports via unnamed sources that Hulu might decide to put in a feature that would ask its users for proof they pay for their regular TV service.

The report claims that cable and satellite companies would be happy with such a move as it would curtail the loss of its customers as they move toward watching TV shows via streaming, on demand outlets like Hulu and Netflix.

However, Hulu already gets revenue via commercials in their TV streams. The story said that Hulu generated $420 million in revenue via ads in 2011. If it forces its users to prove they are already paying for TV, it could cut down on their ad revenues considerably.

The same report claims that this possible change to a authentication model was part of the reason why one of Hulu's financial backers decided last week to cash in their stake in the company. The Seattle Times reports that Providence Equity Partners plans to sell its 10 percent holdings for $200 million.

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NeoGamr RE:PLAY - April 30th 2012

55 Comments

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One more reason not to get Hulu.. First their damn commercials. I get streaming to avoid that crap. Now you want proof of my tv subscription??? Public to Hulu: Go to hell!

I'm calling this BS. Legally, Hulu can't ask to see your information that you use cable or satellite TV. Account number, billing address and other information that the cable/satellite uses is not a public document and can't be focus to be seen by Hulu for that matter along.

Also the article said unnamed source. How can you truth that in the first place. The only thing Hulu can do is to get bought out by Comcast to just be able to see that people are buying Comcast cable.

NBC did this with streaming video of the Olympics in 2008. They had a drop down of cable companies and when you pick one a seperate window opens (kind of like facebook login if you wanted to link a story or video from another website) and you enter your login info.

ACTIONpack said,
I'm calling this BS. Legally, Hulu can't ask to see your information that you use cable or satellite TV. Account number, billing address and other information that the cable/satellite uses is not a public document and can't be focus to be seen by Hulu for that matter along.

Also the article said unnamed source. How can you truth that in the first place. The only thing Hulu can do is to get bought out by Comcast to just be able to see that people are buying Comcast cable.


They certainly can, HBO\Showtime already do this with their streaming services; you tie your provider account number to your hobo or showtime account - they then run a check against data from your provider (either given to them or in real time call to a api provided by the provider) to verify the account exists.

The only thing I can think of that is remotely similar to this is CNN's iphone app. It has the functionality to stream Live TV, that is whatever CNN is currently airing, via your iphone. To do this, they require a login from your TV provider. We have Time Warner cable at my place, my roommates and I, DVR TV service and cable internet. But you know what? CNN's iphone app doesn't even support Time Warner cable. So...if this is indeed something similar to what this article speaks of, then what the hell are people supposed to do who don't have a supported cable TV provider????

Seems to me this alleged idea of Hulu's is dead already.

Fine by me as long as they give me Hulu Plus for free since I'm already paying for their free programming.

I nixed cable for web only last month. We do Netflix and Hulu Plus only and now we save $636 per year. I would be beyond sad if they became a reality.

Sounds like Hulu is about to Netflix themselves. I'm a Hulu plus customer and have been happy. I don't have cable anymore. If Hulu does this, then they will lose me as a customer.

I would assume this is a joke or rumor. because all one can say is well sure I watch it over the air. don't need to pay for it. I don't actually have cable in my room. I do pay cable to get the net. and comparing Hulu to Netflix is absurd. there are no ads in Netflix. X_X Hulu is basically the online version of cable. so it'd kill them in a hurry.

Hulu already sucks, doing this would just be the final nail. I tried the trial a while back; tv shows played with borders all around them, network logos, and the commercials. Bunch of crap in my opinion. They may have a lot of obscure old shows but Netflix beats them in every other way.

TRC said,
Hulu already sucks, doing this would just be the final nail. I tried the trial a while back; tv shows played with borders all around them, network logos, and the commercials. Bunch of crap in my opinion. They may have a lot of obscure old shows but Netflix beats them in every other way.

Before you judge, try their premium subscription free for a week. You will see its far superior to cable - except for 'live' feeds of TV.

Netflix don't offer any free, ad-supported service to my knowledge.

NBC (part Hulu owner) did this with their streaming video for the last Summer olympics (didnt check for the last winter olympics) and I was mad. I think they didnt like how Microsoft introduced Silverlight video and streamed events in the 2004 games for free so they took that away for 2008. I hope the IOC allows free straming again in the US.

edit: looks like Comcast (which owns NBC Universal) has the rights to broadcast the games through 2020. They will be working with Youtube for this years summers games but games will still be on NBC's site and not Youtube.

Edited by Doli, Apr 30 2012, 9:26pm :

Burn them!!! Burn them at the stake!!! Sheesh people....it's a damn internet rumor. I highly doubt it will ever happen.

I would drop my Hulu subscription in a second if I had to pay for cable as well. The only reason I got it was to get rid of my cable subscription. I'm sure this is the case for a majority of their subscribers, or at least a large chunk of them.

Roguefoxx said,
I would drop my Hulu subscription in a second if I had to pay for cable as well. The only reason I got it was to get rid of my cable subscription. I'm sure this is the case for a majority of their subscribers, or at least a large chunk of them.

This probably why they are doing this if the rumor is correct. Cable companies are loosing subscribers like crazy and instead of changing their business model they would rather pressure companies like Hulu and Netflix to do stupid stuff like this.

If this rumor is true Hulu needs to get some balls and stand up and say "No!".

And people were mad at the Netflix change, which was very minute, and not a big deal, if you ask me.

Now this.... this is worth getting p***ed off over.
Essentially meaning to use Hulu you would have to subscribe to their monthly fee, along with however much cable is a month, assuming atleast $50+ dollars.

.....Yeah I'll pay an extra $8 MORE to Netflix before I give in to that bulls*.

Edited by Perfect72, Apr 30 2012, 9:46pm :

Few questions:

How many users can be 'linked' to a cable account? Like, the amount of 'TV's you have in your house is the amount of Hulu logins that can be linked to the service? Or can only ONE be used? (thus ****ing off the kids and wife)

Also, does it make a difference if I have the basic 13 channels, full-tier 50 channels, or digital/premium/HDTV? because if so, I will drop my premium/HDTV subscription and just use hulu.

Does your cable provider matter? like if I get it from a reseller of a reseller or something, that account infos will be valid?

Either way - their efforts will be in vain. Either their service will be hacked or EVERYONE will just start using the SAME proxy and acct numbers - thus appearing to be the SAME person/household.

Their better business model would be to throw more ads in the mix, add delayed airing for those without proven subscription (like wait 48hr longer than subscribers) or push their $8 HD multi-device subscription and give a big F U to the cable companies.

I really hope hulu flips this in their favor and screw over the ancient monopolistic scrooges who run these multi-billion dollar corps on decades old technology.

This is retarded. I dropped my cable TV, upgraded my internet and subscribed to netflix and hulu. AND IM STILL SAVING MONEY.

there no way in hell im gonna pay for cable tv again.

ShareShiz said,
This is retarded. I dropped my cable TV, upgraded my internet and subscribed to netflix and hulu. AND IM STILL SAVING MONEY.

there no way in hell im gonna pay for cable tv again.

This exactly what I did, except I don't even pay for Hulu. I literally never pirate, but I have not had cable TV for at least the past three years.

If it's not on Netflix or Hulu (or the actual channel's site in CBS' case...), then I don't watch it. I am willing to pay for Hulu, but there has not really been a show where I need too.

I am unwilling to ever go back to paying for cable or satellite where the monthly fee is outrageously high to begin with, it goes up randomly, and it goes up without any legitimate reason. $60+ per month, excluding internet, for what boils down to 5 channels that I want to watch? Sorry big media, but you have lost the value proposition.

I've already saved, again literally, thousands of dollars without losing any serious amount of entertainment value. I'll take their dumb pipe--the internet--and stream what I want, and take my savings to do something else.

So Hulu *may* give in to future dead business model grasping at straws, and they aggressively attack / deny access to content to Netflix.....

All this will do is drive more people back to downloading the TV shows from torrents, these guys just cant seem to grasp the concept of people don't want to pay for overpriced crap (AKA Cable/Satellite TV).

Zippo7 said,
All this will do is drive more people back to downloading the TV shows from torrents, these guys just cant seem to grasp the concept of people don't want to pay for overpriced crap (AKA Cable/Satellite TV).

Can't go back to what I never left in the first place.

deadonthefloor said,
someone without a terrestrial atsc reciever.

What if I DO have an ATSC reciever? Oh right, I have it conntected to a media center pc and record my stuff for free and save it off to watch on whatever device I choose.

Don't use Hulu so it wouldn't affect me, but I don't pay for cable though I do pay for cable internet so I still have an account with my local cable provider. So depending on how they would check whether or not you pay for TV it might not work 100%.

Nagisan said,
Don't use Hulu so it wouldn't affect me, but I don't pay for cable though I do pay for cable internet so I still have an account with my local cable provider. So depending on how they would check whether or not you pay for TV it might not work 100%.
I could care less about Hulu or not, I don't use them, I can't use them. The problem is, if they do this, what stops current and future companies (that could actually affect me) from doing it?

This is why people pirate things. Jeez these media companies just don't get it. You have to compete with FREE; if you do not provide a service better than torrenting or file sharing you are not going to stop piracy. This is just a step backwards.

Shea J said,
This is why people pirate things. Jeez these media companies just don't get it. You have to compete with FREE; if you do not provide a service better than torrenting or file sharing you are not going to stop piracy. This is just a step backwards.

AYEEEEE, you hit the nail on its head!

GS:mac

This is quiet ridiculous if it ends up being true. What the **** is happening to the world? We need to change this world now or it's going to be too late, if it's not already.

Whomever made this decision has absolutely no clue. This boondoggle of a move is going to kill Hulu.

People who actually pay for Hulu (wow, they really exist?) are often the very same people who DON'T pay the cable company.

Hambone72 said,
Whomever made this decision has absolutely no clue. This boondoggle of a move is going to kill Hulu.

People who actually pay for Hulu (wow, they really exist?) are often the very same people who DON'T pay the cable company.

If my roommate didnt pay for cable TV we wouldnt have it and would just have Hulu. Before Hulu and my new roommate moving in we didnt have cable.

If we were required to have cable to have Hulu and my roommate didnt pay for cable, we would have neither cable TV nor Hulu.

Hambone72 said,
Whomever made this decision has absolutely no clue. This boondoggle of a move is going to kill Hulu.

People who actually pay for Hulu (wow, they really exist?) are often the very same people who DON'T pay the cable company.

I pay for hulu, as there are many shows i watch on it. However, this would change if they enacted this stupid policy.

Hambone72 said,
Whomever made this decision has absolutely no clue. This boondoggle of a move is going to kill Hulu.

Actually they (meaning the MPAA studios) know exactly what they are doing and that is precisely their goal.

They honestly want everyone to buy physical DVDs like it was the 1990's. That's all they understand.

They will do anything to kill Internet content distribution because they know that once the worm turns, no one will need these MPAA distribution dinosaurs anymore.

Just how would one go about proving that they have cable? Send a copy of the bill to them? This just has trouble written all over it...

jnelsoninjax said,
Just how would one go about proving that they have cable? Send a copy of the bill to them? This just has trouble written all over it...

They'll most likely have to provide their account number for their cable/satellite provider I would imagine.

jnelsoninjax said,
Just how would one go about proving that they have cable? Send a copy of the bill to them? This just has trouble written all over it...

Same way HBO and ShowTime's website does... required to login with your Cable Providers account info.

Side note: Neowin. Seriously, get your login page to redirect back to the current article not the forums. Is this someone's class project or a professional website? That's like "building a website 101" type UX.

jnelsoninjax said,
Just how would one go about proving that they have cable? Send a copy of the bill to them? This just has trouble written all over it...

the same way HBO Go does it, forcing you to log in through your providers site and linking to it like a facebook app does

YanksOnTop said,

THATS ****ING CLASSIC!!! YOU TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!!! That is so annoying.. Why cant they fix that????

I'll third this. You alway have to click "back" and then "refresh" in order to comment. Horrible, horrible user experience. And from a tech site...

YanksOnTop said,

THATS ****ING CLASSIC!!! YOU TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!!! That is so annoying.. Why cant they fix that????


I'll fourth this.
Just did it just to complain on here ahaha xD

@topic: Noeeees! I just want my Hulu to stay with me ;___;

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

I'll fourth this.
Just did it just to complain on here ahaha xD

@topic: Noeeees! I just want my Hulu to stay with me ;___;

GS:mac

Lol I 5th it. It's incredibly annoying.

can't believe this is still happening, reply going to another post... and then going back ._.

Ferret said,

7th. Extremely irritating !


8th, thought I was the only one

MrHumpty said,

Same way HBO and ShowTime's website does... required to login with your Cable Providers account info.

Side note: Neowin. Seriously, get your login page to redirect back to the current article not the forums. Is this someone's class project or a professional website? That's like "building a website 101" type UX.

Yeah this does need fixed, also after clicking the LIKE button, it jumps you to the Front page.

robert_dll said,
can't believe this is still happening, reply going to another post... and then going back ._.


8th, thought I was the only one

I thought I had just been doing something stupid for years and I never bothered to figure out what it was. Ha!

robert_dll said,
can't believe this is still happening, reply going to another post... and then going back ._.


8th, thought I was the only one

9th! Where can we go to let neowin staff know ? WIll they even read this?

NerdyTech said,

9th! Where can we go to let neowin staff know ? WIll they even read this?


The guys above you also agreed, albeit not n-th-ing it.
So you're 11thing it!
Can't imagine a post that got n-th-ed to 11 with no c-c-c-c-combo breaker doesn't get noticed!

(guys carry on, this is not combo breaking, as I just put a side note relevant to the n-th-in and I already whatever-th-ed it!

Glassed Silver:ios