Two of the shows I watch on Hulu — House and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — hit the website with an 8 day lag from their first television airing. That is, when an episode of House airs on Monday night on FOX, it won’t be available on Hulu until the day after the next episode airs a week later. The same is true for Sunny, which airs on FOX-owned FX, but on Thursdays.
I understand why FOX does this. If you are a true fan of either show, you likely won’t want to be a week behind, and will only use Hulu has a backup (if that; DVRs are better), and the television medium monetizes better than web/Hulu. And the potential audience for a TV show is huge — just look at well, House itself. It’s on a major network with a huge marketing budget. It’s Facebook page claims almost 2.5 million (!) fans. It does really well in the TV ratings game and pulled 16.5 million viewers for this season’s premier.
But the eight day lag, especially in Sunny‘s case, I find two days too long. Why? Because I’d gladly watch Sunn
on TV — if I could only remember to. And I remember to do so every week — on Friday, when last week’s episode hits Hulu. So I watch that episode, laugh hysterically, and then consider DVRing next week’s show. (NB that the FOX-demanded Hulu time shift requires that I, too, time-shift my TV-based consumption; that is, it’s DVR or nothing as far as TV is concerned.) Then I remember something else — I’m a week behind. So, if I DVR next week’s show, I’ll have to watch this week’s next Friday on my computer like I usually do, and … bleh. So I stay wed to Hulu.
The fix? Easy: lag the shows by six or even seven days. On Thursday night at 8 PM, I watch Sunny on Hulu and am caught up. Two hours later, I’m watching on TV. I log into Hulu next week and see the show there — a re-run, to me — and remember, hey, it’s on again tonight. Use Hulu as an advertisement, and you win. Big.