What happens to a Hulu TV show after it "expires".

Several classic TV shows on Hulu will expire on 4/2/12. Alfred Hitchcock Presents is one I like and Ironside is one I could live without.

Are they gone forever? Will they return after a period of absence? Will some other classic replace them? Do we have no clue whatsoever?

I assume it has something to do with contracts. My questions are more along the line of has there been, is there now, some pattern?

When services like Hulu or Netflix stream something it means they struck a deal with the rights owners. Essentially the service pays a certain fee per episode/film and they get the rights to stream them, these contracts are for a set amount of time. I’m not certain about Hulu, but in Netflix’s case when the contract nears its end they determine if they wish to renew it or let it expire, I assume based on popularity. If it’s renewed the shows/films will be return quickly, if not immediately, if not the stuff is gone unless they get it again later as part of another contract. I imagine that Hulu is more or less the same.

Hulu usually is granted the rights to a show for a set period. When that period expires, they can either remove it or renegotiate the contract for further licensing. The decision would depend on popularity and the cost of renewing the rights.

It’s taken to a farm upstate where it can chase rabbits.

Somebody sticks a fork in it.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents has already expired and been renewed multiple times with little to no downtime between. Some just go away for good. Some have limited episodes on standard Hulu and the rest moved over to Hulu Plus.

Incidentally, Hulu as a whole has been on the cusp of not continuing several times over, as its owners are vary ambivalent about its existence. They’ve tried selling it off unsuccessfully, mainly because anyone interested in buying it wanted to be assured that the content is has now would stay there, and not being sure if they want that content online is the reason the owners wanted to sell.