Shocker: Piracy Rises After Fox Delays Hulu Shows

By  |  Monday, August 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm

When Fox announced that it would withhold its TV shows from Hulu and its own website until eight days after their original air date, a lot of people assumed that piracy would increase as a result. Now, TorrentFreak claims to have proof.

The site tracked BitTorrent downloads for two Fox shows — Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef — over the last week, when the delay began. Sure enough, during the first five days, downloads of the latest Hell’s Kitchen episode rose by 114 percent compared to the previous three episodes. Downloads of MasterChef spiked by 189 percent, with the season’s finale likely accounting for higher demand on BitTorrent.

TorrentFreak also took note of some of the angry comments on Hulu, many of them wrongly directed at Hulu rather than Fox: “What I don’t like is up until now I have been able to watch the episode of Hell’s Kitchen the day after it airs and all of a sudden they now want me to pay for it?” one commenter writes.

Unless Fox executives are really, really dense, they had to see this coming. My guess is that an uptick in piracy was expected, but in the long run, Fox is hoping that people will feel inconvenienced enough by the delay to hang onto their cable subscriptions — or sign up for Hulu Plus. Fox is openly concerned about cord-cutting, and delaying shows by eight days is meant to discourage people from relying on free streaming.

In other words, it’s about reinforcing the idea that if you want Fox’s content in a timely manner, you’re going to have to pay for it. TorrentFreak’s findings don’t necessarily mean that Fox’s approach is doomed, but they are a reminder that workarounds are always available.


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. nickp Says:

    Since Fox stopped putting shows up on Hulu the day after they air, piracy of their shows has gone up by 200% on average

  2. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Workarounds? It's called THEFT.

    Ya know, if you lock your front door, there are workarounds for someone who wants in…

  3. Jason Anderson Says:

    You can't really steal a TV show. Especially since it airs for "free" on TV. Fox doing this makes me realize that I too will now have to download all the shows I still watch on Fox (Simpsons, Family Guy, Cleveland and American Dad as well as House and… well, that's about it) the next day if I really want to see them. That's so much extra work. Hulu is supposed to be convenient. Screw you, Fox.

  4. domynoe Says:

    I can wait. Don't need to steal, don't need the eps right away. At least they aren't waiting up to a month like USA and I think SyFy.

  5. Jeffrey Says:

    I couldn't care less if either of these two shows were cancelled. They could be the only two streaming television shows online and I still would not watch them. I think what is very interesting is how embedded into our culture television media is and how people would go through those lengths, with a risk of getting slapped with an expensive lawsuit just to watch these very two shows I have just described. Let the great media giants know, no matter how difficult you make it to milk the last penny out of all the content you produce, you can never block people from their culture. *end rant* Side note, I am supportive of reasonable content distribution, and us my best judgement before finding "workarounds"

  6. wolfpack Says:

    This makes no sense. Hulu is a different medium. This is almost like if cellphone companies required users to have a landline in order to make calls. Isn't Hulu owned in part by Fox anyways?