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Hulu Blocks International Access Via Witopia

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the secretly-to-increase-american-tourism dept.

Television 256

An anonymous reader notes, and excerpts from, an article at PC Authority: "It's human nature that people always want what they can't have — which is why there's so much interest around the world in accessing the US-only Hulu site. Hulu offers a range of television shows for streaming, including Family Guy, The Daily Show and House along with a few full length movies. ... If you're outside the US, the easiest method for accessing Hulu that many people are discussing online, is using a US-based VPN, which tricks Hulu into thinking their computer is within the US. Initially Hulu started cracking down on free VPN services such as Hotspot Shield, but now it's turned its attention to Witopia — which costs $40 or $US60 per year but offers a faster, more secure and more reliable service than its free competitors. Initially Witopia's LA gateway remained unaffected, but now Hulu has blocked this as well."

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Dear content producers... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920237)

Dear content producers, on behalf of most of the world could you please do us a favor and release things globally? In case you haven't looked online, there are many sites where you can get things for free online (http://thepiratebay.org/) most of us though would really just like the support the creators. If you won't sell the product where your fans are, how are we supposed to support you? I can understand physical DVD sales or broadcasting it via television because that costs money, however the internet allows you to distribute content for -free- without the overhead of needing to translate, ship or alter any media. Even better have the fans do the work -for you- if bandwidth is a problem make it be P2P, if translating it into people's language is a problem allow fansubs. As for the "cultural barrier" many of your fans are educated enough to know that there is a difference in culture and will look up, or accept the cultural difference without being offended. This isn't advice just for American TV being released outside of America but also to anime companies and other companies releasing things globally.

Bottom line. We, the people who don't live in the country where you are currently producing, want to -buy- your content or at least look at the ads. If you won't let us, fine. We will simply pirate it. But chances are you want to make money right? So don't treat us like second-class citizens, we have money just like "your part" of the world does and no, we don't like getting episodes 1-2 months later than the rest of the world and no we don't like being shut off of a service that would allow us to watch TV while supporting the producers. If you must, just block non-American IPs but don't be idiots and start blocking VPNs and other ways to block your fans from trying to legitimately support you. We have other options, but you have an opportunity with the internet to allow us to pay for content. But if you don't want our money, fine. We will go back to pirating your shows.

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920261)

Don't bother. Didn't you know? Your comment isn't visible on slashdot.us!

For that matter, why did Google make its Asterix day today only on google.ca and google.fr and such, and not on google.com/us?
Isn't that, like, one of the most popular comic of all time peut importe la nation?

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920279)

Obviously they'd prefer to sell^Wlicense the distribution rights multiple times across multiple "regions".

Which they clearly think will give them more money than doing so on a global basis.

Re:Dear content producers... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920319)

Actually I'm guessing advertisers don't pay for foreign web hits so you aren't supporting the content providers you are just sucking down Hulu's bandwidth. Not being obnoxious just explaining why they are being spoil sports. They may offer the paid service worldwide if you are serious about supporting content providers. If advertisers don't pay for the shows viewers have to and few advertisers will pay for worldwide exposure since it's effectiveness varies and some advertisers are local.

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

Tawnos (1030370) | more than 4 years ago | (#29921061)

Require global watchers to pay a fee equal to what the advertisers would pay per impression? Naaaah, let's just block it.

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920335)

You'd think that for a good slice of that $40-$60/mo they'd be willing to offer them a subscription of some sort. Especially if they've been complaining that "the purely free-content business model is unsustainable".

Re:Dear content producers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920535)

That was $40-$60 per year not per month.

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920603)

It's $40-$60/yr., and do you really think that Witopia would be willing to give any of that up if they could avoid it?

Though a subscription idea to remove ads would be very interesting to me, as long as it removes all the video ads and doesn't have overlays on what I want to watch.

"But if you don't want our money, fine" (4, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920341)

err... what money?
I thought Hulu was ad-supported?

And what American advertiser is going to want to place ads for videos that are seen in countries where they may not even have an establishment?
Even those that do - say, McDonald's - can't exactly advertise a burger that they're offering nation-wide in the U.S. for a particular price in another country where that product is not available, or is available but for a different price.

So, Hulu and the content rights holders would have to come to advertising agreements in all of the other nations being catered to while at the same time, trying not to piss off the the broadcasters in those areas too much (after all, the syndicated content -does- appear on TV much later, once these smaller broadcasters can actually afford it - but what advertisers are -they- going to attract if everybody's already seen it for free via Hulu?)... so good luck with that.

And if they -did- start charging cold hard cash... well, I guess one could claim iTunes as being highly successful, so if they did it well, it might even work. In due time, I suppose.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (4, Interesting)

TheWizardTim (599546) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920433)

What about just advertising the brand? If IP = US ad for McDonald's new heart attack burger. If IP != US, then just a general ad for McDonalds.

Or you can advertise products that people would never buy. For example, on CNN I see ads for Boeing all the time. I am not in the market for a new 787, and I bet that 99.9999996% of the viewers are not as well.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (5, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920531)

If IP = US ad for McDonald's new heart attack burger. If IP != US, then just a general ad for McDonalds.

You, the presenter (in this case Hulu) have to convince McDonalds of that.
Ads are VERY time and location specific. You don't advertise snow tires in Miami, and you don't advertise sandals in Minnesota. Ok...maybe. But not in February.

Boise, Baltimore, and Barcelona all get different McDonalds ads. And at different times.

As for the Boeing ads...thats just brand awareness. Obviously not a product you will buy, but a brand you, the business owner/voter, may defend in the next round of bailouts.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (1)

konadelux (968206) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920881)

It has nothing to do with Hulu not wanting to figure out an advertising strategy for countries outside of the United States. Hulu is a business, and if there is money to be made then they will do their best to make it.

The issue is that the networks who produce these shows enter into contracts with the networks who air those shows in foreign countries. So for example, here in Canada, CTV airs a lot of american network television shows, and in buying those shows they stipulate that they have the exclusive rights to make money off of those shows in Canada. So unless CTV and Global and the other Canadian stations enter into a partnership with Hulu, or come up with something similar themselves, then we Canadians are SOL.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (2, Funny)

magarity (164372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920963)

I am not in the market for a new 787
 
Heck, I am.
 
OK, so lining up financing has me stumped, but I'm totally in the market otherwise.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920475)

I don't buy that excuse. If Hulu couldn't make enough from ad revenue overseas then they should offer a paid subscription. They have no shortage of people trying to see what they offer and I'd bet that by continually making efforts to stop fans from accessing the site from outside the US they're only encouraging people to go elsewhere, even piracy.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920501)

It's not about that. It's about the contracts they signed with the content providers.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920505)

They can always use an international ad network. I don't see any other ad-supported site complain about foreign visitors. And the ones that do try to keep foreigners out (Such as Nico Nico) still let your register and view the site so long as you can manage to create an account in their language.

So, Hulu and the content rights holders would have to come to advertising agreements in all of the other nations being catered to while at the same time, trying not to piss off the the broadcasters in those areas too much (after all, the syndicated content -does- appear on TV much later, once these smaller broadcasters can actually afford it - but what advertisers are -they- going to attract if everybody's already seen it for free via Hulu?)... so good luck with that.

But there are still many other shows that don't make it past American, European or Japanese shores at all. For example Family Guy is only broadcast in the US as far as I know and it has been broadcast since 1999, I think it is safe to say it won't be syndicated outside of the US anytime soon. Other shows are totally destroyed in "localization" most anime series are completely ruined when brought to American or European countries. There are many anime fans who would much rather watch the original with subtitles than with sub-par voice acting and many references, scenes or entire characters removed or changed.

Plus, look at how entire markets have been opened by people watching non-native TV. Anime and manga were virtually unknown to most people 15 years ago, but have since become household names. The internet and copyright infringement really opened up those markets. That never would have happened if all the sites were similar to Hulu.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (1)

onco_p53 (231322) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920683)

Family guy has been broadcasted in New Zealand for years. Ditto Simpsons, South Park, King of the Hill...

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920755)

And Australia... there are other places in the world (you know, that bit outside the contiguous 48) where English is the primary language and people can easily translate the Americanisms out of shows.

We even take slops like Oprah, Judge Judy, Bold and The Beautiful, various flavours of CSI, NBC Today, and (for something truly parochial) PBS Jim Lehrer News Hour.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (1)

onco_p53 (231322) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920787)

Yeah we get all those too, on free-TV too I should add. Maybe it is the poor quality transmission, but is there something weird with Lehrer's eyes?

My favourite non sci-fi export would have to be NCIS.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920565)

Even those that do - say, McDonald's - can't exactly advertise a burger that they're offering nation-wide in the U.S. for a particular price in another country where that product is not available, or is available but for a different price.

Geolocation via IP - serve up different ads based on the viewers' geographical location. It's done all the time, along with time-of-day, so that you can target your ads to the viewers you want. Spamvertisers with their affiliate advertising do it all the time, why can't Hulu?

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (1)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920571)

Even those that do - say, McDonald's - can't exactly advertise a burger that they're offering nation-wide in the U.S. for a particular price in another country where that product is not available, or is available but for a different price.

Brand awareness can still be of value. Even though an ad might be for a Big Mac, the person who sees the ad might want to go to McDonalds and get a McArabia sandwich after watching Brian and Stewie tell fart jokes.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (2, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920767)

Or ... they could just use the same geolocation they use to block IPs outside the US to serve location aware advertising. Don't serve the US add to China. Amazon would probably be more than happy to have its ads served in China though.

They are already using the tech, wouldn't take much effort to support it really.

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920987)

It's at least as easy for Hulu to deliver different ads to different countries as it is to block people from those countries and hunt down their US proxies, etc.

Some businesses like McDonalds may have a presence that allows running many customized ads (and as it is unlikely they have setup a presence without advertising it there does not need to be much if any cost creating new adds). Otherwise you can contract with someone local there who is selling web advertising--if they are selling it at all then presumably there is a price at which they will be only too happy to include you in their schemes.

If the margins are too small then you just increase the number of ad intervals.

Yes at some point that will drive off viewers, but then that just achieves what blocking them would have achieved, doesn't it?

Re:"But if you don't want our money, fine" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920993)

err... what money?
I thought Hulu was ad-supported?

And what American advertiser is going to want to place ads for videos that are seen in countries where they may not even have an establishment?

Because increasing your global coverage decreases your local coverage? Its not like adding international viewer in to the mix is going to reduce the numbers of domestic viewers is it? And there are plenty of companies that would happily pay for a global advert. I get banner adds all the time for US only products or US only services, why should video ads be any different?

I would also think Hulu could use the opportunity to build a customer base to allow it to start offering localized advertising. Getting a lot of viewers from the UK? Great, open an office there and start selling advertising space to UK companies.. Japan viewers up this month? Discount advertising for Japanese companies for this month only!

Cutting off 90% of the worlds viewers is also cutting off 90% of your revenue stream..

Re:Dear content producers... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920465)

I don't understand how "region coding" and "region blocking" has survived this long. It is *inherently* anti-globalization and is probably the poster child example of how "globalization" is really a crock of shit designed only to benefit multi-national corporations and NOT the consumer.

Re:Dear content producers... (4, Insightful)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920527)

One reason for it is the different regulations of each country. If a major company with deep pockets sells a region-free DVD globally some country will sue because it didn't censor the left eyebrow of all blonde women, or whatever ludicrous regulation that country has.

Re:Dear content producers... (2, Insightful)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920581)

Tell ya what. You're so interested in global content, but we've got all these political hoops we have to go through to make that work. Every last little country has its own media industry and they want things their own way.

But now, here's my proposal: We, the media, will give you global media - your way, anywhere. Now you - you just have to sign on the dotted line here, that says "I the undersigned, agree to a global governing body"...that's right, good. Now, see? We were going this way all along. And you and me, we both benefit this way!

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920607)

I think the point is that Hulu is paying for their bandwidth, and that since their advertisers are US based and that the content providers would like the opportunity to market their product in other counties. They cannot allow people outside the US to view it without losing their content.

If you want American stuff... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920645)

... then you have to move to America, you Eurotrash fag. It's bad enough you mooch on the internet and GPS... now you want US TV, too?

Fuck you! Suck my American cock.

Re:Dear content producers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920707)

The problem as I understand isn't so much that they don't want to sell to us, they don't want to piss off those countries with different censorship (yay retarded australian politicians). I guess it takes more effort to work on getting content rated to be shown in countries other than the US than just blocking those countries.

Dear Darkness404 (0, Troll)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920775)

Dear content producers

Dear Darkness404, you are wasting your breath. You've just sent an open letter on a geek site to a bunch of B-Ark movie producers. The chances that they read this are nil. Your reasoning and logic don't work on people who have a reputation for indulging in extreme drug habits and alcoholism, not to mention corruption and other excesses. These people would sell their mother's kidney on Ebay if they could find a way. Trying to reason with such vipers is probably quite bad for your health. But you may be modded up.

Re:Dear content producers... (2, Insightful)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920837)

Bottom line. We, the people who don't live in the country where you are currently producing, want to -buy- your content or at least look at the ads.

Your countries are often at fault themselves. For example, many European nations insist on translating US programs into the local language. There are also many regulations, agreements, taxes, tariffs, guilds, copyright limitations, licensing fees, performance fees, etc. that effectively end up necessitate negotiating separate agreements with every country.

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

Paradyme (950782) | more than 4 years ago | (#29921037)

Your countries are often at fault themselves. For example, many European nations insist on translating US programs into the local language.

That's mostly just France you're thinking of.

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

rubic123 (1642093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920839)

This is a wonderful instrument. The things mentioned are unvaried and needs to be comprehended by everyone. Terrence Kredit [a-kredit.com]

Re:Dear content producers... (1)

TikiTDO (759782) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920933)

I'm sure the VPN blocking policy is simply a bureaucratic decision. As soon as some senior MPAA shill caught wind that you could go through VPN to "steal" their content, the studios probably told someone near the top of the Hulu corporate chain that this should be strictly US only. From there on, it's a management decision, and outside the realm of any logic. You must remember, this is the Media industry. As I'm sure you know, being a /. reader, logic is not one of their strong points.

However, if we were to take a step back, there are pros and cons to international viewing. I think a major factor is that these companies have not realized you can offer to sell advertisement time to businesses in other countries, and then play said ads based on geolocation. You could probably even go through an intermediary, and have them handle the communication, and taxes, then send you a portion of the profit as "licensing" for next to no work on your part. However, there is also the question of licensing to consider. If the distribution rights to your content are already licensed in a country, then you can not just start offering a better service that would take customers from the broadcasters in that country. They most likely paid quite well for these rights, and have a good contract in the hands of their best lawyers. Sure, it would get you more money, and more good will to go this way, but it might also get you in legal trouble that you do not want. In that respect, their hands may really be legally tied.

A little more realism, please (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920955)

I can understand physical DVD sales or broadcasting it via television because that costs money, however the internet allows you to distribute content for -free- without the overhead of needing to translate, ship or alter any media. Even better have the fans do the work -for you- if bandwidth is a problem make it be P2P, if translating it into people's language is a problem allow fansubs. As for the "cultural barrier" many of your fans are educated enough to know that there is a difference in culture and will look up, or accept the cultural difference without being offended.

The pro from Google will move on the moment you begin peddling the nonsense that video distribution over the Internet won't cost him a dime.

Fansubs are poorly written and badly acted.

You do not make or keep your reputation in this business by handing foreign markets over to amateurs.

It isn't the fan the pro is worried about when he looks at cultural differences. the complexities of translation.

It is the larger audience he is trying to reach. It is access to markets the fan can't give him.

Re:Dear content producers... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29921121)

Unfortunately it comes down to copyrights.
When a networks purchases the rights for a show or movie they purchase the rights by reason.
Buying the rights for the US is significantly cheaper then buying worldwide rights. Hulu (NBC) doesn't own all of the worldwide rights for their content. If they offered it in a country where the sane show has been licensed by it's creator to another network they would be sued.

For now, there isn't really a solution.

Oh well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920253)

http://www.hdstream.org

Re:Oh well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920265)

eztv.it

So much (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920269)

For the internet breaking all national boundaries!

Re:So much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920291)

There have long been predictions that eventually the internet will be completely locked down and controlled by media interests, much like TV.

It's slowly coming true, one step at a time. It was never tolerable to governmental and economic powers that it would be free and open.

Re:So much (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920587)

There have long been predictions that eventually the internet will be completely locked down and controlled by media interests, much like TV.

It's slowly coming true, one step at a time. It was never tolerable to governmental and economic powers that it would be free and open.

At which point everyone will start running/hosting wireless mesh lilypad networks, and stuff like email will be routed by this century's equivalent of fidonet. The Internet is made to route around damage, but when it becomes damaged enough, there'll be enough incentive for us to route around it.

Re:So much (1)

HollyMolly-1122 (1480249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920297)

Internet is not intended for breaking. It's intended for uniting. The only things what breaks all the way are too big business plans and merchantilism.

Re:So much (1, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920373)

Well actually it does, it's just that media corporations aren't getting the message. They fought tooth and nail to maintain their control at every step in the advancement of media technology. The problem is that there are no technical limitations preventing these shows from going global, it's purely limited by the media corporations' need for control over their media. People can still access these shows through other means, they jsut aren't legal means. Which is really too bad; the media companies had an opportunity to expand the reach of their media to a world-wide audience and they can't think past their fears of piracy and supposedly low revenue opportunity from doing so.

VPS hosting + VPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920305)

Build your own for $20 USD/month!

Re:VPS hosting + VPN (1)

Jonny_eh (765306) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920361)

And where would I, a Canadian, get a US IP?

Re:VPS hosting + VPN (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920383)

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. You could let me Google that for you, but instead I'll point you to Linode which hits to $20/month price point.

Also, is this an actual article or a press release for Witopia?

Re:VPS hosting + VPN (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920529)

Astraweb is $11/month. Let me see... which to choose.

Re:VPS hosting + VPN (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920665)

Astraweb is $11/month. Let me see... which to choose.

The one that meets your criteria best, obviously. If Astraweb offers the same or a sufficient level of performance and bandwidth, why pay more?

Re:VPS hosting + VPN (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920693)

Astraweb is a Usenet provider. My point was why jump through all the hoops of a VPN, on the inside of the US, with who knows what bandwidth just so that you can watch something on Hulu when you can just get it near straight from the source.

If the media companies want to make it hard for me to watch something with their ads, I'll make it easy on myself.

Re:VPS hosting + VPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29921123)

And BitTorrent is free. Idiot.

Re:VPS hosting + VPN (5, Funny)

sheriff_p (138609) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920769)

And where would I, a Canadian, get a US IP?

Anyone remember when Slashdot used to be News for Nerds?

How it probably works... (5, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920369)

You got Hulu which is supported by ads. For every single person who views a show, they view ads.

Businesses pay for these ads to be shown. Maybe it's like 10 cents for a 30 second commercial, times the number of times its viewed, or something like that.

Since the advertisements are geared towards American audiences, when someone from a non-American audience views it, it devalues what the ads are worth. A business can argue since their target is Americans, and if let's say 50% of viewers are non-Americans, then they should only have to pay like 5 cents per 30 second commercial per viewer, and not the full price.

As the number of people viewing Hulu increases, and assume that the percentage of Americans viewing in total viewership decreases, then the profit Hulu makes falls.

Assuming that the number of American viewers is static, Hulu has to pay for more people to view their site, while having a fixed influx of revenue.

Of course, this can be solved simply if content providers allowed other countries to view the site, and also had advertisers geared towards that audience.

Re:How it probably works... (4, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920445)

Ads can be targetted based on IP. If your IP isn't hidden behind a VPN, that is.

I'm starting to wonder when the content industry will realize that their competition in the form of piracy is higher quality, free, and easier to use.

Re:How it probably works... (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920521)

"it devalues what the ads are worth"

why? an ads value is in how many people see it and how many of those people seeing it purchase a product based on it. if you have no presnce in a country then it's no loss, and if you do eg. macdonalds, it's better for you anyway.

hulu's beef might be that they aren't getting revenue from ads placed by overseas companies but they are still bearing the cost of bandwidth. which is fair enough, but if you've got such a huge number of viewers paying to access your site via a fucking vpn, doesn't that tell you've got an untapped customer base just waiting to turn a buck from?!?!?

for craps sake if it was me i'd be asking which countries are making the most connections, setting up shop there an selling ad time.

Re:How it probably works... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920573)

Since the advertisements are geared towards American audiences, when someone from a non-American audience views it, it devalues what the ads are worth.

      This is the kind of logic that investment banks love. You probably have a bright future on Wall St.

      Ads are not "worth" anything. They are expenses. A company has a budget of X dollars to spend on advertising. The company hopes that advertising will increase sales. The company really wants to know: If I spend X dollars, how many additional sales will it get me?

      The fact that someone in N. Korea views the ad is IRRELEVANT.

      Unfortunately, the advertising business is not run by advertisers. It's run by "media". And media, being the whores that they are, want to charge the company PER VIEW of an ad. So if people in N. Korea view the ad, the media company, because they are lazy slobs (and it works in their favor) want to hike the rates for the ads. After all, more people are viewing the ad, so "of course" it is worth more. Never mind the fact that the person in N. Korea doesn't have access to the widget being advertised because of UN sanctions, etc.

      You have the argument exactly backwards.

     

Re:How it probably works... (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920611)

Its a wonder nobody has been able to make targeted video ads relating to whatever is known about a viewer. Google is probably working on something like that to use in Youtube eventually though.

Re:How it probably works... (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920705)

Hulu [hulu.com] says that their reason for restricting content is "clearing the rights for each show or film in each specific geography." Well, why not make the site available to at least all of the places where these rights are already cleared. Eh? Name a show that is in the U.S. that are explicitly banned in, lets say, Canada.

But to be honest, I only care about the fact that I can't access Pandora [pandora.com]

Re:How it probably works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920835)

Yes, but then they come up with all of the other places that they have to block routing through the new places. For example, if they allow stuff in Canada, then they have to start blocking Canadian VPNs too, or other countries will use those

Re:How it probably works... (2, Insightful)

Btarlinian (922732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920857)

Hulu [hulu.com] says that their reason for restricting content is "clearing the rights for each show or film in each specific geography." Well, why not make the site available to at least all of the places where these rights are already cleared. Eh? Name a show that is in the U.S. that are explicitly banned in, lets say, Canada. But to be honest, I only care about the fact that I can't access Pandora [pandora.com]

Actualy, they probably don't have the rights for a show in Canada. For exmample, CBC might own the rights to broadcast Heroes in Canada, while NBC owns the rights to broadcast it in the US. Therefore, Hulu needs to pay money to CBC to show Heroes in Canada. (It's a terrible outdated model, I know, but its very difficult to undo the hundreds of already existing licensing deals.)

Re:How it probably works... (5, Informative)

prockcore (543967) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920981)

It has absolutely nothing to do with ads, and everything to do with media contracts with overseas content providers.

If you're in the UK, and you want to watch Hulu, don't yell at Hulu, yell at Sky. They're the ones who have the exclusive broadcasting rights for certain shows in your country... they're the ones whose contracts prevent Hulu from streaming to your country.

What about Overseas Military and Expats? (5, Insightful)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920375)

I know of many people who live overseas since they are in the US military and they have a witopia account so they can access US content while they're overseas. They also still purchase American products on their local base, and they actually like to watch US commercials since all the local stuff is in Japanese. I guess we'll have to find a way around this too...

Re:What about Overseas Military and Expats? (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920547)

If you want, I can see what I can do about setting up a proxy for you guys to use similar to witopia. let me know.

Re:What about Overseas Military and Expats? (1)

Bagellord (1656577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920553)

I have to agree with blocking international access for certain reasons above, but you made me remember our own soldiers deployed all over the world. Perhaps Hulu could provide some way for people in the military specifically to be able to use it overseas?

Re:What about Overseas Expats? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920689)

Oh you see nothing wrong blocking access because its doesnt afffect you.
I on the other hand have been paying for cable in Canada since the mid70's and still pay for access to american stations like NBC,etc.
The networks make money selling to canadian cable providers, border affiliates advertize heavily cross border.
To top it all off,canadian pop culture is american TV.
Friends, Seinfeld, Mash, Cheers, Golden Girls, LA, Law, Jerry Lewis Telethons, you name it. Sports? Please... there is only one league in the whole country.
Canadian content is a farce in english (in french its nothing more than copies of american TV or reality concepts but at least it seems different because of the language) TV, it is defacto all american content.

ABC, NBC and CBS have been taking my money through the cable distributor for decades but when it comes to offering the internet service, oh, we dont know you.
Btw, I PAY to get american TV, you get it for free.

Two, I dont give a rats ass about military asshats, homegrown or not.
You chose a career and it has nothing to do with me. Swing around a pole, flip some burgers, blow an old dude for his pension check... dont make your bad career choices be a burden to me.
Dont get me wrong, Im not against what they do, i think people who are willing to kill without asking questions should be as far away from civilazation as possible.

Re:What about Overseas Military and Expats? (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920739)

The US military personnel are not in the US when they are deployed all over the world. Why should they get treated as if they were? When they are abroad, they are subject to the laws of whatever country they are deployed to. That includes what's on TV.

Re:What about Overseas Military and Expats? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920805)

US military bases are for all intents and purposes US soil. They generally don't get goverened by the same laws as the country they are in while they are on base. Off base is another story, but on base is US soil with all the rights, privileges and restrictions of it.

Why should they get it? Its not a right, and they did sign up for the job, no argument there. However, considering this people put their lives on the line to protect my skinny little cowardly ass, I think anything we can easily do to make them feel more at home should be done. They risk their lives for me, they can have a few comforts from home, especially when it takes almost no effort to allow it.

Why do you think our warships and bases have Internet access in the first place? Many of them have sat feeds that bring in US television.

Re:What about Overseas Military and Expats? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920703)

Hulu may be able to unblock the IPs of the US military bases without getting itself in trouble with its content providers (after all, most US military bases are technically US soil). However, this means the military would have to provide Hulu with a list of its IP addresses, which it may be reluctant to provide -- for security reasons.

Re:What about Overseas Military and Expats? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920785)

The information for standard base users is already available and if it wasn't, it wouldn't be hard to figure out. Trying to hide the fact that your IP is for a specific location or organization is rather silly.

In most cases a traceroute to the originating IP will make it pretty clear that its a US military base.

You might not do it for some super secret stuff, but those guys probably aren't watching Hulu over the network either. They most likely aren't even able to.

Re:What about Overseas Military and Expats? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920777)

Its not like the government can't register the base IPs with Hulu to overcome the problem. I doubt too many advertisers would fight it, being that it would seem pretty damn 'un-American' to cut off your military personal overseas.

Of course on that same note, Hulu could figure it out pretty easy themselves. There aren't THAT many bases to deal with.

This is illogical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920399)

They are making money. Each time a show is viewed so are the ads, each time the ads are viewed they make money. They are spending money in order to stop themselves from making money. I realize the ads are targeted towards a U.S. audience. But if the person is watching a show in English, then I am fairly certain that they understand the language. From my own experience many of the products advertised on Hulu are available internationally. So again I repeat, Hulu is spending money in order to stop themselves from making money.

Re:This is illogical (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920575)

Each time a show is viewed so are the ads, each time the ads are viewed they make money.

The people putting up the ads are only putting them there because they will make money from them. Displaying, and paying for, an ad that the viewer cannot buy, or cannot understand, is a waste of money.
They try not to do that.

Re:This is illogical (1)

Maguscrowley (1291130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920761)

How are they viewing a show in a foreign language and unable to comprehend an advertisement in that language?

VPN's are worse than international access (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920417)

They don't give geographical information, and therefore, can never be properly served with accurate ads. Those of us international people, waiting for this, are just going to have to hold tight . There isn't any need to lobby anybody, this is all coming, very soon, for everybody.

Re:VPN's are worse than international access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920911)

Are you working for Hulu's international division, or you are just making this up?

More complex than that (3, Interesting)

ProfMobius (1313701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920609)

The overall problem is more complex than just a ad problem. In many European countries, the shows have to legally be dubbed (France, Germany, Spain) or at least subbed (Danmark, Sweden). So, if they diffuse them oversea, they are making themself fool of the law. I don't know for internet if the applied law if the law of the served country or the serving country, but in all cases, it is a more complex problem than just "do it".

On a side note, I find totally rubbish the laws about forcing dubbing and subbing, and if Hulu was available in France/Germany, I would use it instead of tpb. But right now I don't have a choice, and it just piss me off.

Legal obligation to dub? (3, Informative)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920859)

Could you point out which provisions are supposed to impose this requirement? I know for a fact that many cinemas and even late-night TV are showing original language versions (subtitled at worst) which are popular with both expats and local movie enthusiasts in Germany and increasingly even France. As a matter of EU law, the Common Market actually demands Television without Frontiers [europa.eu] with the rights having to be acquired by the broadcaster for the entire satellite footprint, i.e. regularly across national and language borders.

Re:Legal obligation to dub? (1)

gordguide (307383) | more than 4 years ago | (#29921059)

I don't believe there are any requirements that the programs be dubbed in EU states (but I'm willing to look at any evidence to the contrary).

The whole idea of dubbing limits stems from a law in France that stated, essentially, that you have to hire a French firm (as in a firm based in the country of France, not a French language company from anywhere the language is spoken) to do the dubs if you do dub to the French language.

I'm pretty sure it only applied (or might still apply) to movies shown in theaters, though.

Hulu's nationwide limits are trivially easy to figure out. The copyrights need to be cleared in each country before you can legally show the content in that country. Ignoring the fact that these things are widely ignored, the point being that Hulu thinks it has something to lose if it doesn't obey copyrights and probably fears a suit.

Going to reasonable lengths to prevent viewing in the non-cleared countries is enough to get them off the hook; they do all they can so it's not their fault if people try to circumvent things from time to time.

The whole clearing thing is also misunderstood; some people think it's tied to the program, as in "The Simpsons" are on TV in [name your country outside the US] so it's obviously already cleared". But, using 'The Simpsons' as an example, Fox doesn't own the broadcast rights in [named country].

They sold them to someone else, in all likelihood a firm based in [named country]. Had they not, 'The Simpsons' would not be on TV at all there.

The clearing in that case would have to be between Hulu and that firm, not Fox.

Copyrights are stubbornly national; and again ignoring what actually goes on to a certain extent (if it's widespread, it will attract enforcement; otherwise, not so much) a DVD of 'The Simpsons' made in the USA with cleared copyrights is not supposed to be sold in the UK, for example. Someone else owns the right to make DVDs of 'The Simpsons' in the UK.

The rights may also be open; no-one has bought them in [named country] yet. Fox, in that case, would still own the remaining worldwide rights it had not yet sold. In that case, Fox would be reluctant to allow broadcast in [named country] because it would dilute the value of the rights it hopes to sell to a broadcaster there. "First Rights", in this case the right to be the first to broadcast 'The Simpsons' in [named country], are always the most valuable.

Re:More complex than that (1)

J Isaksson (721660) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920975)

I'm in Sweden and I have quite a few unsubbed and legal channels both on-air and over satellite. There are some "accessibility requirements" for SVT (the government owned commercial free channel that charges a TV license fee) but even they aren't required to subtitle everything and many channels that do subtitle do so in English since few channels are dedicated to Sweden and Swedes in general have little problems with English.

Very stupid! (1)

yooy (1146753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920623)

I actually was thinking about getting witopia exactly for this reason (I travel a lot). How difficult is it to insert country based advertisement based on the accessing IP? Not very difficult. But these guys seem to prefer to loose business to torrent.

Foreign IP address ad's could simply be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920719)

US tourism ad's. You tell me Vegas, NYC and other cities wouldn't want to place inexpensive ad's to foreign nationals? I've been Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, etc. etc. and have enjoyed McDonalds, Snickers, Coke, Pepsi, Subway, KFC, Nestle's in all of these places not to mention Apple, HP, Canon, Nikon, etc. There are plenty of products/brands for them to sell ads too. Come on Hulu get on with it and start allowing overseas IP addresses to access.

remote squid proxy (1)

mathgenius (526070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920725)

I tried accessing hulu through a squid proxy in the US. It get's to the "loading video", but then "we are unable to stream this video. please check your internet connection and try again". I wonder if it's a bandwidth issue, or perhaps squid is doing something weird.

Re:remote squid proxy (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920813)

I get the same issue when trying Hulu through SSH tunnel via a host in the US. I assumed it was a bandwidth test and it was determined the connection didnt reach the required bandwidth (as the host is a relatively slow connection - I wasnt expecting very good performance even if I could connect).

But if anyone knows if it might be some other restriction causing this I would like to hear it.

Re:remote squid proxy (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920851)

The problem is they've got Flash going direct. If I use Squid and block all other internet access other than Squid, I see direct access trying to go from my PC to Akamia where Lulu is streaming content. I think the real hack would be to use iptables to redirect all internet access to the Squid proxy, no matter what Flash wants to do, and further have Squid hide that it is Squid/proxying.

OpenVPN is your friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29920773)

For $19 a month I can get a virtual private server at any number of hosting services in the US.

Then, I install and configure OpenVPN on it.

Voila. My own private VPN that I can use to get to Hulu, and they aren't likely to block it since I'd be the only one using that particular IP address.

A little Linux/Unix knowledge goes a looooong way.

Re:OpenVPN is your friend (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920953)

If you're going to spend $19/month, you might as well import DVDs and/or buy from iTunes (unless you have other use for the VPS). I, for one, have no intention of spending well over $200 a year to watch free content.

Can't stop the signal (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920865)

The Internet was designed to work around roadblocks to the free flow of data.

If the media companies push hard enough, more people will simply setup private proxies. A PC with a private proxy looks just like a PC with a user, to a site like Hulu. You can even tunnel it over ssh or a traditional VPN if you want to get fancy. Blocking ports doesn't work, unless you block them all; software is flexible.

It only takes one person out of seven billion to make something available to the other 6,999,999,999 people. There is simply no way to stop data from moving. It's a fundamental property of information. Even flash drive via carrier pigeon has higher bandwidth than most people get.

Someone needs to shake some sense into the media industries. The only thing they are doing is failing their shareholders.

There are other VPNs that work... (2, Informative)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920919)

I'm watching eposide 6 of The Amazing Race right now, via Hulu, sitting in my apartment in Shanghai, China. No problem at all. And I watched a movie last night via Netflix as well. There are lots of VPNs - commercial and free - that work really, really well...

Someone's gotta be new to these intertubes... (4, Informative)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920949)

It's human nature that people always want what they can't have -- which is why there's so much interest around the world in accessing the US-only Hulu site.

...and has yet to realize that there is no such thing on the Net as "can't haves" and "US-only sites". Technically, inaccessibility is damage and deservedly gets routed around. Laws trying to protect flawed business models that ask for the crippling of technological infrastructures to prevent larger audiences are a waste of taxpayers' money, much like a crackdown on automobiles would have been about a century ago to save forever the then status quo of the "flourishing" horse cart and pony express "industries".

SOCKS proxy to USA VPS doesn't work for me (3, Interesting)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29920985)

A few weeks back I purchased a VPS server for the purpose of watching Hulu. I tunneled all my traffic by using SOCKS and many services clearly thought I was in the USA except Hulu.

Hulu seems to be doing client side checks, checking your Locale/time settings I suspect.

I am in Brisbane, QLD, Australia and I belive my VPS was in a Houston datacenter in Texas USA.

European Networks = stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29921117)

European content provider are idiots. This is the main issue here.
Take Germany. The TV networks ignore the fact that many people want to watch the shows with their original, english audio. This is not possible - you have to bear the stupid German syncs.
Monitoring the filesharing/rapidshare networks, shows like "Glee" are exceptionally popular right now, yes the networks actually monitor the sharing networks - so much that it's even a four page article in the largest economic magazine last week.

How much does it take for them to get the message?

Take Ebooks. No one here has understood that customers simply will not buy DRM ridden media. European publishers ignore this fact.
HDTV via Cable? Haha not in Europe, buddy (mostly)
Stupid DRM all over the board? yep
Most pirating in the world? Right here
boy, I wonder how...

I know a lot of people that use Hulu via VPN. Honestly, it's exactly what I want as a customer.

Why are European networks unable to deliver?
I mean, they can even save money not doing their retarded syncs.

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