Hulu just cut a deal with CBS, offering a national feed in 24 markets. These feeds will offer CBS’ primetime and daytime content but no local news or syndicated shows.

Here’s Luke Bouma, writing for Cord Cutters News:

For some time now Hulu has been in negotiations with the Sinclair Broadcast Group to add their CBS affiliates. After months of trying Hulu this week struck a deal with CBS to offer a national CBS feed in 24 markets.

Sinclair owns 24 CBS stations, but won’t give Hulu the rights to re-broadcast their signals. So Hulu is offering a national feed instead. Bouma’s post goes on to list the relevant markets:

  • Salt Lake City
  • Cincinnati
  • West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce
  • Austin
  • Grand Rapids-Kalmzoo-B.Crk
  • Harrisburg-Lncstr-Leb-York
  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy
  • Portland-Auburn
  • Harlingen-Wslco-Brnsvl-McA
  • Syracuse
  • Cedar Rapids-Wtrlo-IWC&Dub
  • El Paso (Las Cruces)
  • South Bend-Elkhart
  • Boise
  • Yakima-Pasco-Rchlnd-Knnwck
  • Eugene
  • Bakersfield
  • Columbia-Jefferson City
  • Medford-Klamath Falls
  • Beaumont-Port Arthur
  • Sioux City
  • Gainesville
  • Quincy-Hannibal-Keokuk
  • Ottumwa-Kirksville

The distinction between “national” and “local” content is and something antenna users and cable subscribers never have to think about, but cord cutters inevitably have to. Not getting local news is weird enough, but syndicated shows are also an issue. Depending on where you live you might think Jeopardy is an ABC, NBC, or CBS show. It’s none of those things: Jeopardy is syndicated, meaning local channels buy the rights. If your local CBS affiliate has the rights to Jeopardy, and you live in one of the above markets, you can’t watch Jeopardy using Hulu.

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Hulu’s marketing will never tell you this, of course, meaning you’ll have to figure it out on your own. Things like this add up, and are part of the reason cord cutting is hard to recommend to everyone.

And there’s no technical reason for any of this: the problem is corporate negotiation. That’s true of most things that make cord cutting complicated, to be honest: the tech is pretty straight forward. My advice: use an antenna to watch local stations, and avoid crap like this altogether.

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