While writing about part one of the two-part House season finale last week, I went looking at Hulu.com for some code to embed the episode in that post only to find it was being held back about eight days after airing. Most networks go by the Hawaii rule, the last of the domestic territories as far as time zones and airings go to see new, original programming for the evening. After it airs there, putting it only won't threaten the advertisers and that makes perfect sense to me and is a fine trade off. At Hulu.com for certain shows, they are taking a trade off and covering it in retard sauce with a tall glass of chilled stupid to wash it all down. NBC-Universal produces and owns the show while Fox licenses and airs it, so one of the two must be having disagreements about how long is long enough to wait for new episodes to go online. Or maybe they both agree that the Hawaii rule isn't long enough, it doesn't really matter. I do know that TV Squad noticed it today and that House isn't the only show being held back like this. While they may think that " a one week delay isn't unreasonable", I disagree, not for my own sake but out of concern for the show and the people who create it. For a savvy but completely honest fan to wait a week may not look so bad but that isn't the crowd anyone should be concerned about offending, it's the savvy pirates that when presented with a choice between getting it over Bittorrent about an hour after it airs EST, or waiting eight days to stream it online with ads, that's not much of a choice.
It reflects and unwillingness to acknowledge that people just aren't going to wait that long if there are other options, and piracy, which isn't going away anytime soon, is going to set the bar for a long time to come. Perhaps the networks can't release these shows within an hour of airing EST, but the Hawaii rule seems to strike a good balance between protecting advertisers investments, and consumers who want these shows and will buy those products. Put an eight-day delay in there if you want, or three days, or a month -- all it's going to do is ensure piracy spikes and online views go down.
I remember reading the results of an informal study of torrent trackers a couple of weeks ago that said most piracy for TV shows happens within the first week of the original airing, precisely the window online streaming should and must take advantage of. But that isn't happening here. These companies have got to start thinking outside the box or they'll continue to get hammered for not seeing things like this coming until after the damage has been done.