Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Using Fox’s New Web TV Plan Isn’t as Hard as Being Waterboarded

The premise of “TV Everywhere” programs are that they reward pay TV subscribers by giving them access to their programs on the Web (or the iPad, or whatever).

And they do! But they also require subscribers to do some work.

Part of that is because the cable guys really haven’t worked out the technology yet (Facebook could help here).

But it’s really because the point of The Great Free TV Web Pullback of 2011 (alternate title: The Great Web Video Piracy Boom of 2011) isn’t to make it easy to watch TV shows on the Web. It’s meant to protect the traditional TV business.

And it looks like the new “authentication” program that Fox announced last night, which will pull back free TV shows on Hulu and, will follow form. (News Corp., which owns Fox, also owns this Web site.)

Take a look at the Web site that Fox rolled out last night in conjunction with the move. It warns surfers that in order to watch shows on the Web, they’ll need to:

This is about standard for authenticated TV, and while it’s not rocket science, it’s also not much fun. (Quick quiz: Where is your most recent cable bill?)

On the other hand, it is easier than being waterboarded, as “Glee’s” awesome Jane Lynch reminds us in a 15-second video. But it’s certainly nowhere near as easy as the instant gratification you can get by going to or and watching last night’s “MasterChef” (or just stealing a peek from a pirate site).

Speaking of Hulu — it’s interesting to note that there’s absolutely no mention of the site on Fox’s Web page, even though Hulu Plus customers can also get access to the Fox programming. But also not surprising.

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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo