Fox’s Hulu delay doubles illegal downloads

If you restrict legal access to your content does that increase piracy? Yes, says TorrentFreak revealing that since Fox Network restricted its shows to an eight-day catch up on Hulu and Fox.com, illegal downloads of those shows has more than doubled.

The torrent news Web site tracked several popular Fox shows–including Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef--on BitTorrent for a last week after the restriction was imposed.

“During the first five days, the number of downloads from the US for the latest episode of Hell’s Kitchen increased by 114 per cent compared to the previous three episodes,” said the editor in chief of TorrentFreak, who posts under the pseudo name Ernesto. “For MasterChef, the upturn was even higher, with 189 per cent more downloads from the US”

Feedback on Hulu shows the extent of discontent, a typical comment: “First it was two or three commercials per show. Then it became six or seven. Then it became two or even three commercials per break…then I found out they weren’t showing full episodes of a lot of shows anymore. Now they want me to have a Dish account? And there will probably still be commercials. No thanks. Count me among the folks saying bye-bye.”

Scott Grogin, senior vice president of communications for the Fox Networks Group told CNET: “Authenticating viewers is not about making sure they only watch live…in fact, quite the opposite. We support a ‘TV Everywhere’ proposition and are working with our distribution partners to achieve that goal. We want the 90-plus million households who pay to watch our programming via cable/satellite/telco to receive maximum benefit and ultimately be able to watch live, via DVR, on VoD online, or through one of the various tablet apps that allow in-home viewing. We are actively in negotiations with all major providers regarding authentication of their customers and we hope to announce several more agreements before the start of the new television season in mid-September.”

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