As Hulu owners negotiate with Time-Warner over the new partnership, there is some debate about a key portion of the service. Though it is not a condition to investment yet, Nasdaq.com explains that the cable giant would like to see an end to full episodes of a show being available during the current season. This change would represent a shift in the way that Hulu currently deals with it’s subscribers.
As it stands now, cord-cutters may enjoy next day streaming on popular shows by going to Hulu.com. Cord-cutters in the US are the group of tech-savvy users that are dumping their traditional cable or satellite subscriptions in favor of over-the-top (OTT) streaming services. Those are channels that may be watched without the limitation of a multi-channel operator. Given the partners involved in Hulu, that arrangement worked well for the user.
Disney, NBC-Comcast, and Fox are partners in Hulu now, but Time-Warner Cable (TWC) is in negotiations to become a 25% partner. This is an interesting move, considering that Comcast got blocked from merging with TWC last year. TWC feels that streaming current seasons of popular shows on Hulu, or anywhere else outside the bounds of pay-TV, is harmful to its’ owners because it will cause more people to cut the cord.
Whereas they may have a point, it is unclear whether or not Hulu will remove current seasons. Doing so would mean that the service would become more like it’s biggest competitor, Netflix. With this suggestion, Hulu is placed in a delicate situation. Hulu has obtained some of it’s subscriptions because the ability to stream recent episodes, making it different from other offerings. Though offering current episodes could lead to cutting the cord, not doing so could lead to a loss of subscriptions. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if Hulu is going to stay afloat by embracing the new trend, or go down with the ship like TWC is suggesting.