Hulu users would wait a lot longer to catch up on their favorite shows, if Dish Network VP of Online Content Development and Strategy Bruce Eisen had his way. “If I can watch Glee tomorrow morning and I don’t have to pay a pay TV service –- I think that’s bad,” Eisen said during a panel about cord cutting at the Streaming Media West conference this morning.
The model of sites like Hulu that make catchup content available immediately isn’t benefiting the industry, he said, adding that broadcasters should instead reserve catchup episodes for authenticated TV Everywhere services, and only make them available freely after 30 days. “If people decide that they don’t have to pay for pay TV, then one of the pillars (of the TV industry) starts crumbling,” he said.
Greg Kampanis, SVP of Content Strategy and Operations for South Park Digital Studios had a more measured take on the issue. “We would rather be behind an authenticated wall,” he said, adding that the industry was simply too slow to roll out these models, and studios like his had to roll out their own, less restricted offerings.
His own company had a wakeup call a few years ago when it saw a lot of its content getting really popular on pirate sites, with comScore reporting two million people frequenting pirate sites to download South Park episodes. “We were looking at it as a pretty large missed opportunity,” Kampanis said. South Park Studios decided to put all of its content online, and has since not only built what he called “a pretty successful online advertising business,” but also seen its ratings skyrocket, with the most recent South Park season premiere getting higher ratings than any previous premieres. “We know its not hurting our ratings,” said Kampanis.
Panel moderator Jonathan Hurd from Altman Vilandrie & Company shared some of his company’s research about cord cutting, with 3.9 percent of all respondents between the age of 25 and 34 responding to a survey from this June that they had already cut the cord because of the availability of Internet video services. More than 20 percent of people in that age group were considering to cut the cord in the near future because of online video.
Curious what Hulu CEO Jason Kilar is thinking about these accusations? Then come to NewTeeVee Live 2010, coming up on November 10, where he’ll talk to Om Malik about his take on the future of the industry.
And while you’re at it, check out the most recent episode of our new web series Cord Cutters:
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