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Old 23 Aug 2011, 06:20 PM   #1
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Default TorrentFreak: Fox's Hulu Delay Fueling Piracy Surge

The free version of Hulu has been extremely popular as a way to catch-up on TV shows, with freely episodes available only a day after the original TV airing. The success of Hulu has been seen by the industry as a victory against piracy, with networks also able to share in advertising profits.

However, Fox's recent decision to delay the availability of catch-up episode until 8 days after airing has had an unintended, but unsurprising effect on piracy rates, which has surged according to data tracked by TorrentFreak.

Fox's rationale for the delay is that the network feels more people would watch the live version if the single day delay catch-up service wasn't available, and this would lead to higher advertising revenue. But instead of following the path Fox had laid out, viewers are finding other ways to watch Fox shows in the way they want to, including illegally downloading them via BitTorrent networks.

TorrentFreak tracked two of Fox's shows on BitTorrent, Gordon Ramsayís Hellís Kitchen and MasterChef, and found that downloads for these shows surged 114% and 189% respectively compared to when the single day delay Hulu showing was still available. TF also found YouTube uploads of shows, which were also popular.

And it's not just illegal sources people are using to watch Fox shows to suit their busy schedules, with one Hulu users commenting that he plans to buy a DVR, or "dust off" the old VCR, to compensate for the lack of a timely catch-up airing.

So far from increasing revenue, Fox may have decimated their Hulu earnings, promoted piracy, and alienated viewers determined to watch their shows in their own ways.
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Old 24 Aug 2011, 11:24 PM   #2
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Fox has responded to the TorrentFreak article, stating that their decision to delay catch-up programming for 8 days (for free users of Hulu) was not an attempt to force users to watch the live version of the program, but to actually "entice" users to sign with one of their cable/satellite/telco partners, which then includes single-day-delayed access to Fox shows on and (for example, Fox has a deal with Dish Network customers where they can use their Dish Network login to access Fox shows on Hulu).

Very thin line between "entice" and "force", IMO.
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Old 25 Aug 2011, 07:29 AM   #3
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Indeed. That being said, I have a media center PC anyway, so I just record all the shows I want to watch, I never use Hulu... but I can certainly see myself being annoyed if I had to wait that long. Especially since my cable company is a fairly small company (WOWWay/WideOpenWest/whatever) and probably wouldn't have such deals.
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