American television streaming service Hulu is said to be preparing for an Australian launch, and could do it without the support of the free-to-air networks, who hold the terrestrial and (now) internet streaming rights of several productions its owners air.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the television networks have been reluctant to show support due to it could drive people away from television to the internet, despite Hulu being another catch-up television service like the current offerings of the networks (i.e. 7PLUS or ABC iView).
It is reported that Nine is currently the closest that Hulu has for an Australian partner, though Hulu has had talks with the ABC, Seven and Ten. The article also notes that Seven has been a critic of the service, with an insider quoted saying that:
You wouldn’t launch with just shows from one network but you might launch with two … if a network has got the rights to free-to-air broadcast [in Australia] and then doesn’t participate in Hulu I think it’s unlikely that their content will show up on Hulu.
NBCUniversal, Fox and Disney hold equal stakes in the company – Disney becoming a new addition to the team – and was designed to combat piracy of television shows. It has since now become a success, and currently has over 260 providers publishing content. Australian television shows such as Sea Patrol (Nine) and Satisfaction (Showcase/Foxtel) have been published on the site, under the names of their distribution partners.
Alternatively, if Hulu does not have a television partner, it could offer movies instead, as it is also part of the site. Again, it would have to negotiate with rights holders in order to provide such content. As well, it could release classic seasons of shows of its rights holder rather than new seasons.
If Hulu does come to Australia, it will be the first country that it has expanded to – beating the UK and Canada. Currently, Australians have had to use proxies and VPNs in order to watch Hulu. You can watch how VPNs work with this little video from Hungry Beast.
Either way, you should start upgrading your internet.