Fox Shows Get Online Lag for Non-Subscribers

Only Dish, Hulu Plus customers will have access

Bad news for “Gleeks” and other Fox fans: Beginning in mid-August, new episodes of Fox shows will no longer be available to view on Hulu or until eight days after their original air date, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Viewers who want to see their favorite shows immediately following their debut will now have to either prove that they’re paying subscribers to a participating cable or satellite service, or watch the shows through Hulu’s paid service, Hulu Plus.

As of now, only Dish Network has made a deal with Fox to let its subscribers watch shows online. But Fox says it’s in talks with other pay-TV companies to include online access to new episodes as part of their standard TV subscriptions, and hopes that as the fall TV season comes closer, more distributors will sign up.

“We're concerned that cord-cutting is going to be a problem,” Mike Hopkins, Fox's president of affiliate sales, told the WSJ. “The more you enable it by putting content out there for free without any tether to a pay-TV subscription, the bigger that danger becomes.”

With traditional TV viewership on the decline, other networks are considering similar deals. Cable providers including Time Warner Cable are reportedly in talks with ABC and other broadcast networks to tie online episodes of shows to cable subscriptions. According to sources, ABC has discussed keeping shows offline to non-subscribers for a week after airing. CBS is also said to be talking to distributors about its own subscription plan.

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