Those online TV show streaming sites — they grow up so fast! Hulu, which Fox and NBC launched barely more than two years ago, has vaulted into the top echelon of streaming sites and red-rovered Disney and its property, ABC, on over.
But all is not well in Hululand, Wired reports, because the venerable “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” one of the site’s most popular shows, is no longer available on the site in full. Now the site will only carry the show’s five most recent episodes. Networks, cable companies and DVD distributors aren’t too fond of being made obsolete, so they’ve forced Hulu to engage in some technological c*ck-blocking.
It’s not hard to see what’s at work here. If cable and satellite operators are threatened by your ability to watch free shows on your computer, imagine how they feel about letting you watch free shows on your TV. What if people decide they can do without those expensive bundles of programming? Of course, companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable don’t even begin to replicate Hulu’s breadth – its readiness to stream every episode of every series it can get its hands on – or its ease of use. The BitTorrent sites aren’t exactly a breeze, but at least they let you get what you want.
[Hulu CEO Jason] Kilar, a longtime Amazon exec, knows what the Internet is teaching audiences to expect: The ability to watch any show, day or night. And he’s adept at explaining this new reality in a way that emphasizes its potential. “This is a tectonic shift,” he told me when I profiled Hulu last year for Wired, “and what it does is allow network heads to find the audience they always should have had but couldn’t reach.” But not everybody sees it that way.
Day Man, fighter of the Night Man, would not approve.