Hulu users who don’t pay for the site’s premium version won’t be enjoying any content from Fox the morning after. Starting today, all Fox shows will be kept off the web for eight days, unless users subscribe to Hulu Plus or prove they pay for Dish Network. Peter Kafka reports that Disney’s ABC will be the next major network to put this kind of delay in place.
As Disney chief Bob Iger explained on a recent conference call, most of the network’s revenue still comes from the cable companies, and keeping them happy means giving them exclusives the web doesn’t have. Here’s a transcript of Mr. Iger from Seeking Alpha:
The relationship that we have with the distributors is a very valuable one, and it’s one that we aim to respect by both protecting what we currently have and determining or figuring out ways that we can expand on it.
Our overall approach of late has been to make deals that increase revenue, while at the same time, protect and respect basically the multichannel or the channel distribution value that we see today. So, we’re looking at deals that are largely library in nature, meaning very little if any content that would be in season, mostly prior season. But also, trying to build into at least some of these deals, some form of authentication, [that] … will allow access to our programming faster or in a more aggressive window, if the customer is a multichannel subscriber.
You are right in your assessment that we’ll basically push the window back or make access to the programming more difficult or later, except if customers are authenticated as a subscriber.
Betabeat is of the opinion that the networks that opt to sacrifice some of the revenue from the incumbent cable players now, in exchange for establishing themselves as the fastest, most social, most viral presence on the web, will be the dominant players in five to ten years time. But maybe that’s why we run a tech blog, and not a public company.