Oh I'm sure they think it's just as senseless, but if they don't restrict it, then Hollywood won't let them use their IP as cheaply as otherwise
No. Hulu is Hollywood. Fox, NBC, Disney (a.k.a.NewsCorp, Comcast, ABC, MSNBC,..)
They are a resale platform for slightly used content:
1. Let people re-watch recent shows. (Probably to create additional ad-revenue, stop downloads, and competition.)
2. Create an on-line show/movie portal to stop independent offers (Netflix, and Blockbuster in the past).
3. Find new income sources. (Older episodes only on Hulu plus. Media centers, android, or anything convenient only on Hulu plus.)
Not their fault? These are the people responsible for DVD regions. Think Murdoch wants to lose markets? To maximize profits, it is essentially to restrict the usage of media (and information in general) to localized markets. You don't want a movie to hit the regional market before the population is hyped for it and your merchandise is ready. And in order to control the pundit circuit and the news "outlets", you don't want a significant percentage of the population access outside sources.