News Corp.’s Fox attempted to block Cablevision customers from watching its entertainment shows on Hulu.com, the site that allows people to watch TV shows for free online, angering viewers unable to watch "Glee" or "House" online, reports the New York Times.
The shutdown, on Saturday, was brief, but it was meant to send a message: "Do not expect to be able to watch Fox online unless you are paying for Fox on TV," the story says. While some investors approved News Corp.’s action, public interest groups criticized the move. “[A]ccess to Fox.com and Hulu.com is completely unrelated to Fox’s relationship with Cablevision," said Corie Wright, the general counsel for Free Press, the story notes.
A News Corp. spokeswoman said that the company ended its black-out on Hulu after realizing that some non-Cablevision video subscribers were also being shut out, the story says. For instance, Cablevision customers who pay for Internet service but get their TV service from competitors such as DirecTV were also blocked from Hulu, the article notes.
Separately, the Los Angeles Times’ Company Town blog reports that Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski blasted both Fox and Cablevision for spending more time fighting than trying to resolve their differences. He said he was "deeply troubled" and added "the time for petty gamesmanship is over."