Updated. Wait or pay up for a subscription: That’s the choice that fans of Fox shows like Glee and Family Guy will be facing beginning next month, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The broadcaster will limit access to catch-up episodes of current shows to viewers that have subscribed to either Hulu Plus or a participating pay-TV service. Paying subscribers will be able to watch these episodes the day after they air online; everyone else has to wait another week.
Cable channels like HBO and AMC have all been moving toward restricting access to online content to pay-TV subscribers, a model that the industry calls TV Everywhere. However, this marks the first time that broadcast content is restricted in a similar fashion.
The Journal reports that the new restrictions will go into effect in mid-August, but many details are still unclear. The paper said that Dish Network is the only pay-TV operator that already has a deal with Fox, which could mean that customers of other services could be left out until their operators sign up with Fox as well.
Also unclear is whether viewers will actually be able to authenticate their pay-TV subscriptions on Hulu.com; the video site hasn’t offered any TV Everywhere–functionality in the past, but broadcasters have been pushing for Hulu to make these kinds of restrictions available.
Update: Hulu declined to comment on the changes.