D'OH REPORT, WEB-WATCH

dohBack in 2007, rival media conglomerates News Corporation and NBCUniversal put aside their differences and joined forces to create Hulu, a video site designed to combat rampant piracy. If you miss your favorite shows, you can just catch ’em the next morning on Hulu for free in exchange for watching some commercials. It’s been a big success, and something that many viewers have become accustomed to. Well, if you’ve been using the service to watch Fox shows, THE FREE RIDE STOPS HERE, BUCKO. Recently, Fox changed its rules so that Hulu viewers will have to wait eight days to watch new episodes from Fox shows, unless they pony up the cash for the subscription service Hulu Plus or prove they pay for DISH Network.

Unsurprisingly, people have turned to piracy to get their fix:

Over the last week TorrentFreak tracked two Fox shows on BitTorrent to see if there was an upturn in the number of downloads compared to the previous weeks, and the results are as expected […] During the first 5 days, the number of downloads from the U.S. for the latest episode of Hell’s Kitchen increased by 114% compared to the previous 3 episodes. For MasterChef the upturn was even higher with 189% more downloads from the U.S.

And keep in mind the fall season hasn’t started yet; these trends may increase once shows like House and The Simpsons return to the airwaves.

Admittedly, ad revenue from Hulu is paltry compared to television – former NBC executive Jeff Zucker once quipped “We’re exchanging analogue dollars for digital dimes.” But surely it’s better to make some money rather than no money, right? [TorrentFreak via TechCrunch]

WRITER WATCH

greg danielsFormer Conan O’Brien roommate and Simpsons writer extraordinaire Greg Daniels (“Homer Badman,” “Lisa’s Wedding,” “Bart Sells His Soul”), who left the show before it got bad to co-create King of the Hill, then the American version of The Office, then Parks & Recreation, is getting back into animation, it looks like. NBC appears to be interested in prime-time animation, so they’ve signed Daniels to a “major production deal… [that] will include various programming but emphasize animated series.”

Of course, Fox is the only broadcast network in the past quarter-century to have had found success with prime-time cartoons – it currently has five series on the air, with more waiting in the wings. Other networks try, occasionally, with little success so far; the last two animated series to air on NBC were Father of the Pride (they’re just like a normal family, except they’re lions!) and Stressed Eric (America loves to watch cartoon characters get nervous breakdowns!). Mayhaps Daniels, with his amazing track record, can reverse the trend??? [AP via Deseret News]

WAGON TRAIN, WEB-WATCH

wagon trainEveryone knows that one of the major causes of the writers’ strike was the fact that writers were not being compensated for profits made from online distribution. Rather than waiting to see how negotiations would turn out, News Corp. and NBC Universal launched the private beta of their YouTube rival Hulu at the end of October (I didn’t get my invite until like a few days ago, so whatever). Hulu features clips and full episodes of all your favorite Fox and NBC shows, including The Simpsons, with some fairly annoying ads for the upcoming movie Hitman built in. It’s actually a nice, clean interface, and you actually the option to turn on subtitles. As of right now, the Simpsons category only has full episodes from Season 19, as well as some 60-odd clips from Seasons 1 – 7, some of which are just couch gags.

So while you’re waiting for the strike to end, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy all your favorite Fox/NBC-owned content, with the knowledge that none of that ad money is going to the writers. [Hulu]