An internal memo at Hulu has revealed a number of changes that could be coming to the digital TV service.
Hulu owners News Corp. (Fox), Comcast (NBC), and Disney (ABC) are planning to buy out their fourth partner, Providence Equity, giving them full reign over their own content on Hulu.
The memo reveals plans to end exclusivity for new episodes of shows on Hulu, among other changes that will ultimately give Fox, NBC and Disney more control of where and when their shows will be watched - and reduce the appeal of Hulu as a platform.
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Hulu has become one of the best and most convenient TV-streaming services on the web, even for users without a paid subscription to Hulu Plus.
Come fall, Fox, NBC and Disney could put an end to policies that give Hulu exclusive rights to new episodes of TV shows, meaning the rightsholders could immediately license their fresh content out to third-party services like Youtube, something that isn't currently possible.
In addition, Hulu will no longer have automatic access to any shows that appear on its owners' respective sites.
That means that Fox, NBC and Disney could choose to make any of their shows exclusive to their own sites (i.e. Fox.com), withholding them from Hulu or at least making Hulu a sort of portal to their respective sites.
Fox also plans to insert even more ads - up to four - during breaks in its shows.
A contingency plan
The memo was posted first by Variety, which hasn't revealed how it obtained the document.
But it seems the missive's entire purpose is to outline a plan that would go into effect should Hulu CEO Jason Kilar step down for any reason.
The buyout of Providence will allow the equity firm and any execs with a certain number of shares to cash out, meaning Kilar will get a huge payout if he does leave the company.
Either way, the memo also reveals a desire to push Hulu Plus, which may be difficult given how dull Hulu's competitive edge could become should all these changes come to pass.