Hulu reportedly moving to allow only pay TV users to view

US online TV service Hulu is taking the first steps towards making content on its service only available to existing pay TV subscribers, according to a report in the New York Post.

According to the Post, citing unnamed sources, the move towards an authentication model – whereby viewers would have to log in with their cable or satellite pay TV account number – was a key factor behind Providence Equity Partners’ decision, reported last week but as-yet unconfirmed, to sell its 10% stake in the venture to its partners.

Disney, Comcast and News Corp, which also owns the Post, will reportedly buy Providence’s 10% share in the online catch-up and original programming service for about US$200 million (€150 million), valuing Hulu at about US$2 billion.

The Post also reports that News Corp-owned Fox is to begin talks with cable operator Comcast, also a shareholder in Hulu, on a TV Everywhere agreement that will also require user authentication, while Comcast-owned NBC Universal will require online viewers of the bulk of its coverage of the London Olympic Games to prove they are subscribers to a pay TV service.