The Hulu Plus website boasts that users can, “Watch every episode aired from the current season of top shows from ABC, NBC and Fox. Never miss an episode throughout the season” for the low cost of $9.99 a month. However, Hulu Plus subscribers may be in for a not so pleasant surprise, as it turns out that Hulu Plus isn’t actually able to share all of the episodes in their catalog with subscribers. Modern Family disappeared completely from the Hulu site over the summer and now it’s back, but the entire first season is M.I.A. Fans and subscribers are less than pleased, and Hulu isn’t saying much to appease the situation.
MediaMemo released the following statement from Hulu:
Yes, the first season of Modern Family is no longer on Hulu Plus. We acknowledge this can sometimes be confusing for TV fans, so we do all we can to provide as much advance notice as possible when shows are slated to come down.
Of course, we keep content on Hulu and Hulu Plus for as long as possible. We can’t offer a specific reason why a particular video may be taking down, as streaming clearances differ from show to show.
That being said, Hulu doesn’t seem to doing much to appease the confusion. When you visit the Hulu Plus website, the first thing you see is a screenshot of Modern Family and, while the site does say that you can watch episodes from the “current season”, I have the feeling that a lot of subscribers will skim right past that and assume that they will be able to view all the episodes when they pay $9.99 to get “More whenever. More whenever. Than ever.” These subscribers may be setting themselves up for disappointment.
Hulu Plus members do get access to a lot of content that regular Hulu viewers can’t watch, there’s no doubt about that. A Hulu Plus subscriber can watch all nine seasons of ‘The Family Guy’, for example, while regular Hulu members can only watch the last five episodes of the show. However, the service paid doesn’t offer the full catalog of every show, and many favorites are missing. For instance, Hulu users can only watch five episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ and can’t watch any episodes at all from the last season of ‘Lost’.
Ultimately, Hulu can’t control changes in the rights and licensing for airing shows online and the studios may decide at any moment that they want to take a full season offline or restrict access to a particular show. They could decide to do this for any number of reasons, including to boost DVD sales. This is something that viewers should be aware of before subscribing to Hulu Plus.
Have you considered signing up for Hulu Plus or are you currently using the service? How would you feel if you were paying a monthly fee for the service and suddenly weren’t able to watch episodes of your favorite shows?