Game Changer: Basic Hulu Service Moving to a Model Requiring Viewers to Prove They Subscribe to TV via Cable, Satellite or Phone Co.; Also, If You Want to Stream the Olympics, You’ll Likely Have to Show You Pay for TV. Killing Cord Cutters?

Apr 30, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Hulu, which has allowed viewers to watch shows for free online, is moving to an authentication model that will require viewers to prove they have a cable or satellite TV subscription, reports our good friend, former Ad Age reporter Claire Atkinson, in the New York Post.

Hulu customers will have to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number, the story says.

Furthermore, if you want to watch many of the events during the upcoming Olympics from London by streaming, you’ll also have to show that you subscribe to TV, Atkinson writes in a separate article

The decision was behind Providence Equity Partners’ decision last week to sell its stake in Hulu after owning it for five years, the piece adds. Other networks are considering authentication services as well, with Fox expected to negotiate soon with Comcast on a TV Everywhere agreement that will require a log-in for paying customers, the piece notes.

"The move toward authentication is fueled by cable companies and networks looking to protect and profit from their content," the story points out.

Hulu is owned by News Corp., Disney and Comcast.

In the article about authentication and the upcoming Olympics, Atkinson writes, "To view certain track events at this summer’s Olympic Games, viewers will be forced to leap over some hurdles.

"In fact, the hurdles are likely to be there for viewers across every sport as NBCUniversal, in its first Olympics under Comcast ownership, moves to require those streaming events on their computers or tablets to prove they are pay-TV customers.

"That means if you are planning to watch any of NBCUniversal’s unprecedented 3,500 hours of streaming Olympic coverage or 302 medal presentations from work, make sure you bring your pay-TV bill along with your lunch.

"Any cable or satellite or telecom company bill will do. Cord-cutters, for the most part, need not apply."


  1. Suppose in order to buy an automobile in 1920 you had to first prove you owned a horse. Crazy.

  2. This sounds SO illegal, that it must not be. I am one of those who cut the cord. Not so much because I really wanted to, but because I live in a condo building and am on the wrong side of the building to get a satellite dish. The building is surrounded by salt water and the cable to my unit has become so corroded that I cannot get a clear signal; Comcast refuses to rewire my unit, and there is NO other alternative. So, what can I do? Who do I have to sue?

  3. This will backfire.

  4. They will have to do that in each individual site. Plus most shows aren’t on cable they are over the air. If they are free on hulu. Sucks but I can get them on the stations sites. Most the time faster than waiting a week for hulu. Pretty lame though. They going to make me login to watch stuff over the air too? This is simply going to encourage streaming from sites they will dislike even more so.

  5. Yet another extraordinarily bad idea from an industry that seems intent upon not understanding where the market is heading.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)