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Media Television

Boxee Drops Hulu Support 375

frdmfghtr writes "According to a boxee blog entry, Hulu will no longer be supported. From the post: 'two weeks ago Hulu called and told us their content partners were asking them to remove Hulu from boxee. we tried (many times) to plead the case for keeping Hulu on boxee, but on Friday of this week, in good faith, we will be removing it. you can see their blog post about the issues they are facing.' Reading the hulu blog post, the only 'issue' I see facing Hulu is that content providers have (once again) shot themselves in the foot, switching off a media conduit they should have been promoting." Update: 02/19 14:31 GMT by T : Jamie points out this interesting (speculative) piece at O'Reilly Radar about the thought process that may have driven the decision.
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Boxee Drops Hulu Support

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:26AM (#26916019) viewership from me for hulu. Anywhere. First now boxee. It's a sign of these illogical times that hulu allow anyone to embed their videos in any web page, but then would force a application that sends hundreds of thousands of streams of traffic to them to drop their service.

    Cable companies' (who are clearly pressuring content providers) subscriptions are already falling. I'm one of those people who have dropped it. Lest that trend continue though, we can't make it TOO easy for people to watch video online now, can we? Continually making it more difficult to get to online video won't save the cable companies' bloated overpriced businesses. It may well sacrifice hulu's, though...

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:29AM (#26916075) Homepage Journal

    would seem be for Hulu to provide a link or three at the bottom of that notice saying "if you disagree with this, we suggest you have your voice heard by .... " with links, phone numbers, email addresses, mailboxes, etc. If the "content providers" aren't listening to Hulu (or boxee) then maybe they'll listen to mobs of their customers?

    I'm very surprised they didn't do this.

  • No Ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:29AM (#26916077) Journal

    I watch Hulu on XBMC. It just hooks into the video stream directly. The ads on the website are inserted by the flash player. No flash, no ads. This is probably behind this decision.

  • Shocking!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgatliff ( 311583 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:29AM (#26916081)

    Content providers trying to prevent change from occurring?? That is shocking!! Shocking I tell you...

    With the traditional players now imploding due to reduced of marketing dollar flows, I think it is only a matter of time before these players that the good old days are gone..

  • by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:30AM (#26916091)


    That's why DRM exists.
    That's why "fair use" is "bad".

    and by a stretch, that why we have the war on drugs. You wouldn't want cheap antidepressants or cancer drugs (like Cannabis), now would you ?

  • by wjh31 ( 1372867 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:31AM (#26916125) Homepage
    if hulu are asking to be removed, then it sounds like hulu have stopped supporting boxee, rather than boxee no longer supporting hulu
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:35AM (#26916187) Journal
    Nobody wants fragmentation, they all just want their walled garden to be the only game in town.

    Not exactly the world's most brilliant plan.
  • by Shads ( 4567 ) <> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:39AM (#26916245) Homepage Journal

    So everyone goes back to viewing their tv shows with no ads from Pirate Bay. ~shrug~ people used Hulu on Boxee because it was easier even if the ads were a bit annoying, now that they've taken it away it'll just be status quo.

  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:40AM (#26916265) Homepage Journal

    It's not just that. The channels themselves are often the content partners, and ads on cable TV or regular TV easily fetch ten times the money that of online video ads do, if not much more. So with that nugget of information, it's easy to understand why they don't like a box that's going to be used a lot like a cable box, but only give them 5-10% of the revenue for the same content. I'm not saying that excuses the fact that they can't see that's how it is going to be that way.

  • Re:Lame. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:41AM (#26916267) Journal
    They don't really want their stuff on Hulu being watched on TV. Hulu is, essentially, the product of a market segmentation/price discrimination move. Better to have the tech-savvy cheapskates watching on Hulu, where we can show them ads and keep an eye on them, rather than on bittorrent or any of the numerous dodgey underground streaming outfits.

    However, they don't want Hulu to replace cable as the medium of choice for nontechy/convenience oriented users. If getting a Hulu set top box is just as easy as getting a cable set top box, and costs a great deal less, then cable loses. The media overlords don't really want that.
  • Re:No Ads (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BMonger ( 68213 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:47AM (#26916345)
    Boxee plays the ads. Boxee goes directly to Hulu to get the content whereas I think XBMC is served from your computer which goes to Hulu. Not to familiar with XBMC myself though. Regardless the worst part is is that on my computer I have an ad blocker. On Boxee I do not. I saw more ads on Boxee than I ever saw on my computer. Even if I disabled ad blocking on my computer I was more prone to "do something else" for those 15-30 seconds. At the TV, not so much.
  • Re:No Ads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:51AM (#26916401) Journal

    I manually installed the Hulu plugin on the newest T3CH release of XBMC. Here's [] the plugin, but apparently it's broken right now.

  • Hulu what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by olddotter ( 638430 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:54AM (#26916441) Homepage
    When will they ever get it? Commercials, no commercials, I'm not sitting in front of the computer to watch something longer than 5 minutes in duration. They need Hulu in my living room if they think I will ever care even a little bit about Hulu.
  • Fear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PineHall ( 206441 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:57AM (#26916473)
    Those "content providers" are afraid of losing control in this risky new venture. By playing it safe they keep their control on known revenue sources. They don't want to take a chance on an unknown thing that could hurt a known revenue source.
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:58AM (#26916487) Homepage Journal

    And what would Boxee be, pray tell? I went to the site, and all I see is a page that asks me to log in. No information on what Boxee would be - no "What is Boxee?" or "Information about Boxee" or "Why you should give a pair of fetid dingo's kidneys about Boxee".

    It looks to me like the standard Web 2.0 "We are so tragically hip that we cannot see over our own pelvis, and if you don't know what we are by osmosis, then you are so terribly uncool we wouldn't want to deal with you anyway."

    Then there's the little issue of the Boxee blog not having a link back to the main site - good web site design there guys. Yes, *I* know to edit the URL to get to the main site, but amazingly enough guys, there are people in this world who don't know that little trick (though I suppose they, too, fall into the "terribly uncool" group which with you would rather not be bothered).

    And of course, neither the story submitter nor the <cough>editors[sic]<cough> could be bothered to actually link to any such explanation.

    Oh well - my guess is that whatever Boxee is, it will follow the same trajectory most Web 2.0 objects follow, so perhaps when the inevitable "Boxee goes bust" story is posted on /. that may give some clues as to what the remains used to be.

  • Or... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:58AM (#26916497) Journal

    ...if they do not, folks who do not like the changes can simply abandon for other avenues.

    Honestly, I'm hard-pressed to find anything worth the hassle on the site anyway, though tastes obviously differ.

    It's obvious that (unlike the music industry) the TV industry is at least trying to adapt to the web. That said, the time is pretty ripe for a hungry start-up or a bored zillionaire to start providing Internet-only broadcasting in a way that appeals, with shows that entertain.

    The economy doesn't have to get in the way either - FOX got its start back during the last recession (late '80s, early '90s), no? Why can't the same thing happen now? (Hell, if it's entertaining enough, who needs cable/satellite? That would be enough to both push the traditional media along, and at the same time show if/how it can be profitable).


  • by meist3r ( 1061628 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @10:59AM (#26916507)
    The reason why we have this rampant piracy is that the studios and content creators and rights holders refuse to adopt models that cater to the consumers. Instead the market is artificially segmented into more and more chunks (which are owned by the same few corporations) to make cash and data flow as complicated as possible to charge more and more for it. I'm really getting sick of all this political bullshit.

    Why isn't available outside the US? Because they need to segment the market to sell country specific ads.

    Why isn't Boxee allowed to stream Hulu content? Because they want to segment the ad market into "Hulu ads" and "Non-Hulu/Other ads"

    Why do DVDs still get released with Region codes? Because they want to segment the market to sell the same stuff at different prices and make ad contracts for different regions so they can earn a manifold of income.

    Why is there still no simultaneous release of movies if many people watch them with subtitles or in English anyway? Because they want to segment the market into the respective "exploitation" zones to draw money out.

    Some of these things are happening because the industry wanted them, some because our stupid societies still believe they need borders and nationalities to function and thus establish different tax systems. It could all be so easy if you would only let it get more complicated ...

    Until this is resolved I'm at the Pirate Bay, watching KingKong, sipping Cider and laughing at all those idiots that still bother to screw around with that antiquated segmentation.
  • by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:08AM (#26916627) Homepage Journal

    Notwithstanding the fact that people outside US can't watch Hulu streams. I would say I only care for Hulu to die faster as far as I'm concerned

    You really think that's Hulu's fault, or something that Hulu has real control over?

    Hulu has a choice: They can provide a good assortment of content playing by the content provider's rules, or they can provide very little content any way they damn well please. So far, evidence shows that Hulu has made the right choices.

  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:12AM (#26916679) Journal
    I know I shouldn't reply to a sig, but... you've got it all wrong.

    The Fool, conscious of his own ignorance, looks at the world and attempts to adapt himself. When he does so effectively, he becomes the Wise and stops looking at the world. Then when the world changes, the Wise must become Fools again before they can begin to become Wise again. Until they succeed, they're the Insane.

    There is no such thing as progress, there is only the changing external world and our endless struggle to effectively mirror it within our internal world.
  • Re:Fear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:13AM (#26916687) Homepage doing it, they ended up hurting the known revenue source. Boxee wasn't stripping the ads- so they were getting money via their known source. They just couldn't control it as well as they could with the Hulu website.

    Now, they'll have less takers.

    No, this was more about Hulu potentially endangering the higher revenue bringing TV and Cable advertising deals.

  • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:13AM (#26916695)
    Either you didn't give the reason you want to see Hulu fail or you don't know what that word means []. Assuming it's the latter, I'm going to have to say that wanting a web site to fail because it only serves a segment of the population you're not in is ridiculous. Hulu is one of my favorite sites right now and the #1 place that I watch movies and TV shows. Hulu's great, and disliking it because of restrictions almost certainly placed on them by the content providers is ridiculous.
  • by EastCoastSurfer ( 310758 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:17AM (#26916753)

    The Fool, conscious of his own ignorance

    A fool knows not that he is a fool. The wise is simply a fool that is conscious of his own ignorance.

  • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:20AM (#26916805)
    Right now Hulu's in the place that Apple was with music a few years ago. Apple dragged the labels kicking and screaming into the internet age and showed them that there was a better way than blindly fighting everyone on the internet. Hulu's trying to do the same thing with the studios.
  • Re:No Ads (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:21AM (#26916821) Journal

    As it happens, I made another post [] more or less covering that point.

    Basically I don't see it being a 'good' reason to artificially and ineffectively limit users' access to legitimate content simply based on the (now fairly blurred) line between a TV and a monitor.

    The level of pettiness here is getting ridiculous: watching fullscreen with a browser in the background on your HTPC hooked to a plasma screen in your living room? Fine. Doing the same thing but streaming direct through a plugin? Not allowed. To me, that doesn't really scream "understandable and logical business plan".

    I can see where they're coming from - they want to protect the revenues from cable and satellite plans - but artificially restricting what one can do with perfectly legal, ad supported content is going to do one of two things: leave the users watching the content in a slightly more inconvenient form (through a browser, but on the same monitor, for instance) or direct them to the pirate bay. Hell, if they keep pissing people off like this then some people might even stop paying for content just out of spite.

  • What is boxee? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:25AM (#26916881) Homepage Journal
    Can someone tell me what Boxee is? I go to their website, and I can't get anywhere IN without registering first. FAQ to read or anything without registering?

    That kinda blows...

  • by thestudio_bob ( 894258 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:25AM (#26916883) is a joint venture between NBC and Fox. So the "content providers" is code name for "the people who own and pay me". So the hulu guys saying, "we feel real bad about this" is BS.

    If you remember this, ESPN's Play To Make ISPs Pay [], you might start to understand what's going on here. The content providers want to get paid to have their content on the internet. They are trying use the same cable/satellite business model with ISP's. How else can the make someone buy unpopular content Y when they want to show their popular content X. It's about greed on the content providers end. They have no control if us people can watch whatever they want, whenever they want to.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @11:53AM (#26917383) Homepage

    That is just stupid.

    If another company (or even a Hulu branch) wants to provide limited content to a wide audience, that's just fine - It may even be a good idea. But that's not what Hulu is doing. They're providing access to (mainly) US-generated entertainment to US-residents. (As a side note, my guess is that US-residents consume much more than 5% of the US-generated entertainment marker. Scaling by world-wide population is kind of a dumb metric for such a thing.) Even if it is more profitable to provide limited media to a wide audience, it doesn't mean that providing more popular content to a limited market base is a bad idea. Both can be profitable as parallel ventures.

    Despite your mocking tone, sarcasm, and terminating your post with an LOL (which obviously show that you're far more knowledgeable than the parent), Mononke is absolutely right in that Hulu has made good choices and has established itself in a solid position in the market. If you think that they've neglected a good opportunity by expanding their base while limiting their content, make yourself rich by doing it better.

  • by Fishbulb ( 32296 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:02PM (#26917503)

    You really think that's Hulu's fault, or something that Hulu has real control over?

    From the O'Reilly article:
    Let's control ads on the Internet by putting them on our "content" through Hulu, an entertainment industry company, not a smelly nerd company.

    Hulu's in the back pocket of the MPAA. Right.

    As far as Hulu's concerned, "any way they damn well please" is whatever the studios damn well please. The only right choice they made was to bend over for the studios, except now they're starting to feel the sting.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:15PM (#26917675)

    Notwithstanding the fact that people outside US can't watch Hulu streams. I would say I only care for Hulu to die faster as far as I'm concerned

    wasn't the internet the only place where evryone was supposed to be equal!? hulu and many other sites are bringing this to an end, therefore making me feel like second class "netizen".

    this is why i simply can't wait for it to die.

    europiana is free and available to enyone who has internet connection. i'd like to see the rest of the world doing their homework as well.

  • by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:28PM (#26917837)

    Seeing as how Hulu is owned by NBC and Newscorp, yes and yes. They ARE the content owners, and as we've seen time and again, content owners are self righteous idiots.

  • Re:Lame. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eudaemon ( 320983 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:30PM (#26917857)

    You are of course correct. The media providers similarly fought cheap distribution of movies - VHS was going to kill the movie theatre.
    Then DVDs were going to kill the incredibly lucrative sale-of-movies industry (the one the MPAA didn't want) because you'll
    only ever sell one copy of a movie. Except of course until HD-DVD and Bluray came out and people wanted a better copy of the same movie.
    In fact bluray and HDDVD are a perfect example of something incrementally that gives more control to the media people, costs more
    and doesn't offer much more to the consumer in benefit. Hence the tepid adoption. What's my point? The content providers are already
    suppliers of streamed content, whether they want to acknowledge it or not, yet. Right now we have torrents (out of the control but highly
    adopted), and hulu (in their control, but not as widely used). Isn't it obvious that these content providers should be working
    with cable companies to form a streaming hub/spoke system so that their content is digitally packaged and forwarded? IPTV FTW, baby.

  • Re:What's Hulu? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Big Boss ( 7354 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:36PM (#26917949)

    The thing I find amusing about this, is that they are stopping people now that they have gotten used to it. It will drive the more savvy to look around online for other options. And they will find things like bittorrent.

    So they are driving people to the "illegal" ways of getting the exact same thing. And people are now less likely to see a moral problem with doing so since they were doing it with hulu just till they broke it. So now they get zero revenue from it, and people are still watching the shows from online sources. With the current software out there for automating the downloads, it's even better than Hulu for a lot of things. And you can get the shows in HD! Much of the stuff is easy enough for even my parents to use.

  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:40PM (#26917991) Journal
    I'm not saying it is anyone's fault. Merely pointing out that Hulu isn't really an Internet service. It is an American service. Anything that is online but considers geographical borders to be relevant makes something wrong. Hulu may work for you, but I honestly believe that this is not a good long-term idea.
  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:44PM (#26918051) Homepage

    I still don't see the point of Hulu. From its very inception, it has been little more than Youtube's retarded big-media cousin. Mindless celebrities plug it everywhere they go, pushing their corporate-approved content over the intertubes.

    To me, Hulu doesn't "get it". They're like basic cable TV for your web browser, with all the drawbacks of network programming and few of the benefits of internet distribution.

  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @12:47PM (#26918101) Homepage

    Hulu's not trying to teach the studios anything, because Hulu IS the studios. They are owned and controlled by NBC.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:01PM (#26918329) Homepage

    I'm not sure whether or not you're just trolling, but I'll bite.

    From its very inception, [Hulu] has been little more than Youtube's retarded big-media cousin.

    Youtube has this nasty habit of withdrawing copyrighted content when the content-owner complains. Hulu, on the other hand, has worked with the networks to legally circumvent this little snag. That's a big difference for those of us that like watching some of the stuff that Youtube can't legally host.

    To me, Hulu doesn't "get it". They're like basic cable TV for your web browser, with all the drawbacks of network programming and few of the benefits of internet distribution.

    Basic cable cable doesn't offer on-demand viewing of all of the most popular shows. I'd say it's like basic cable for your web-browser that has DVRed everything with a significant viewer base. That seems like a pretty big "benefit of Internet distribution" and one eliminated "drawback of network programming".

    Mindless celebrities plug it everywhere they go...

    Personally I have never seen that, but I'll assume that it's true. That said, if mindless celebrities are wrong, I don't want to be right. =)

  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... m ['eve' in gap]> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:03PM (#26918355) Homepage

    Back? When did we stop?

    And I think the hypothesis in the summary is correct. They thought people were watching Hulu on computer. Because they're apparently complete and total morons who don't understand the different between computers and TVs is...nothing.

    I'm going to explain this carefully to the TV companies:

    I literally have not watched an ad on TV in three years, cause my 'TV' is hooked to a computer that runs utorrent downloading an rss feed, and a program called gbpvr. This is a 'computer' that serves the purpose of a DVD player. It's not some tiny screen, it's hooked to my actual main TV, and only to that. It has a remote control on it.

    It is a computer by technical definition, but I want you goofs to think of it as a TiVo that illegally downloads TV shows. I went to bed last time, and I woke up with Lost, Lie to Me, Knight Rider, and Life on Mars downloaded. Without ads. For free. With an interface I can operate like a TiVo, with a remote, on a television.

    This system wasn't hard to setup. The hardware requirement was a $40 remote control and an old computer. The two pieces of software were both free. In terms of technical skill required, it wasn't much at all.

    To recap: I can walk into my living room, sit down at my couch and use a remote control to watch the episode of Lost that aired last night, and then delete it to make room for more. Without ads. No hassle whatsoever, it happened entirely automatically. It is there, now. It is easier to watch than using hulu in a web browser.

    Now I want to tell you I'm 30. And I want you TV executives to imagine the 25% of the 18-35 year olds that are moderately technically savvy switching to my setup. Now I want you to imagine them helping their friends set it up. (There are a lot of old computers out there.)

    I will give you a second to change your underwear. Are you people perhaps grasping the fucking seriousness of your situation?

    There is one, and exactly one, way for you to show me an ad: Some sort of automatic downloading application (Not real-time streaming crap. I don't have infinite bandwidth.) that lets me subscribe to TV shows and download and watch them. Like I do now, but legally.

    If you would provide this, I would switch. Even if the shows had ads. Away from the same system without ads. I'm okay with ads, I understand that's how you make your money. Other people might not be so noble, but if your application was easier to use, and came with a remote control, they'd never set anything up...but once they do, they aren't switching.

    However, my choices now are the current system, and fucking stupid hulu in a web browser that I can't operate with a remote control and stutters if I'm downloading something else. I'd never heard of boxee, might have used that too if I knew about it (Although I hate streaming), but congrats on breaking that.

  • by flitty ( 981864 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:14PM (#26918523)
    Because 10 minute youtube clips are great for watching full tv episodes. I don't have a DVR or pay for a tv service. The only real shows on cable i give a damn about are BSG and The daily show. Within 24 hours of original air date, they are both on hulu at not the best quality, but definately watchable. I don't have to worry about torrent rss feeds or download times or viruses from torrents to watch these shows. The tradeoff being 4 30 seconds or less commercials. I'll be damned if i pay $.99 or $1.99 for an episode of either of these shows though, they just aren't worth that to me. Also, I don't have to deal with individual corporations websites and horrible streaming options (ABC for instance, is a joke, requiring a separate download to view their shows). If you know of a company out there that provides this content for free (without torrents), please, let me know.
  • Re:What is boxee? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:22PM (#26918635) Homepage

    Hulu is abitrarily restricting what clients they will allow access.

    It's as if they suddenly decided that Opera and Firefox would no longer be allowed.

    While it's their perogative to be morons, it sucks if you are an end user.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @01:27PM (#26918697) Homepage

    It's not rediculous at all.

    Hulu is engaging in pointless restrictions. They're like
    some country club that would never let Tiger Woods play
    unless he was the reigning golf champion (and perhaps
    not even then).

    This is arbitrary. Boxee wasn't even doing anything
    against their terms of service or against their
    interests really.

    The web should not be fragmented by that sort of petty exclusion.

  • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @02:12PM (#26919425)
    So far, evidence shows that Hulu has made the right choices.

    Yes, it's great for me to see blogs with embedded videos saying "FUCK OFF IF YOU'RE NOT AMERICAN". Great choice. (Since most of the blog posters are blissfully unaware that's what we, outside the chosen land, see.)

    Back to grotty old Youtube.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2009 @02:48PM (#26919923)

    Yep, sort of like how the BBC treats me when I go to it's website. It isn't just American companies that pull that stunt.

  • by FrkyD ( 545855 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @05:52PM (#26922297)
    They arent laws, they are aging distribution agreements that continue to get renewed. You are seeing the attempts at propping up an out of date business model, the same things the music companies have been doing for years now. Regional licensing and distribution deals are simply out of date and should be irrelevant by now. They ad nothing to the value of a property, and only serve to artificially inflate the cost, by adding a useless level of middlelmen who are skimming profits.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"