Rumor Roundup: No Cable Subscription? No Hulu For You!

Brad Chacos

Netflix may be king of the streaming video hill, but millions of intrepid cord cutters have turned to Hulu Plus to feed their next-day fix for newly aired television shows. That may change one day, however; new reports indicate that Hulu is considering requiring its users to have a verified cable subscription, a la HBO GO.

Could the proposed change have anything to do with Comcast/NBC, Disney and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owning the majority of Hulu? Nah, that couldn't be it… although now that you mention it, the New York Post -- which broke the news -- says that the move to verified cable subscription is the reason that Providence Equity Partners, the fourth and only non-content-focused major shareholder in Hulu, was rumored to be cashing out its stake in Hulu last week .

TechCrunch took the Post's story and ran with it ; according to that publication's sources, Hulu has considered moving to cable verification since way back in 2009. TechCrunch's insider agreed with the Post's in saying that the drastic "Cable subscription or GTFO" change is likely a couple of years off, but he indicated that a tiered-type model could appear much sooner, with cable subscribers receiving access to shows the day after they air and non-subscribers being forced to wait as long as a month for fresh content.

If that tiered model takes effect, TechCrunch's source says that even Hulu Plus subscribers would most likely need a cable subscription in order to watch new shows the day after they air. As far as the carte-blanche "Cable subscription or GTFO" rumor goes, there's no word on whether the limitation would bar Hulu Plus members from streaming TV shows if they aren't also cable subscribers. That's the way rumors work, unfortunately.

Would you stop watching Hulu if it required you to subscribe to cable services and jump through hoops in order to prove it? Or would you just turn to illegal torrents, as hordes of people did after Fox enacted new streaming content delays for folks who don't subscribe to cable?

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