Hulu to require customers to pay for cable authentication

For the past few years, millions of Americans have been scaling back on or dropping cable altogether, turning to online sources such as Hulu and Netflix to catch their favorite TV shows. But in the next few years those looking to save by cutting the cord could be in for a shock.

The New York Post reports that Hulu is taking steps towards a model where its customers will have to prove they pay for cable in order to access their favorite TV shows. The industry term is called authentication, because it would require that users submit their cable or satellite TV account number in order to verify that they are entitled to their favorite content.

The news, while certainly disheartening to users of Hulu and other streaming services that could potentially move to authentication, is unsurprising. Companies that specialize in media ranging from books to movies have been fighting a losing war to stem the tide of lost revenue from web-based services, whether those losses are from piracy or legitimate means. If the authentication idea catches on, millions could find themselves in the unpleasant position of having to sign back up for cable, go without their favorite shows, or obtain them through other means. So far, Hulu is only taking internal steps, so it could be a while yet before authentication is required.

The only party this might be good news for at this moment is Netflix, which would certainly see at least a small uptick in business should angry Hulu users abandon the service. That is, assuming Netflix doesn’t travel down the same path.

Source: New York Post