News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWSA) Fox is becoming the first major traditional TV network to introduce a paywall to access its freshest TV content. Starting next month, viewers without proof of a cable TV subscription who want access to a show immediately upon first airing will have to use Hulu's fee-based service, or wait an additional eight days for the show to be made available for free.
It's interesting to note that while much of the cable TV industry continues to doubt the effect of cord-cutting, Fox Broadcasting, in announcing the move, admitted that the cord-cutting trend was on its mind. Fox also seems to be setting itself up for a post-Hulu-sale strategy of some kind, though the Web TV juggernaut's sale remains nothing more than speculation for now.
Still, it remains to be seen whether or not a delay that funnels the impatient among us into fee-based access will do the trick. It will be interesting to see what happens during those eight days, and if the TV network inadvertently reboots online TV's Wild West period, when many shows were available for free if you knew where to look.
- read this report in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)
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