For those of you who were hoping to eventually complete the DVD collection for The Simpsons, you might just be out of luck. Fox is planning on ending the creation and distribution of the traditional DVD sets of each Simpsons season (read: a technology barely 15 years old, which is light years these days in tech).
The Hollywood Reporter caught the news on Twitter that Fox had made the decision which broke hearts of many fans. But Fox has been quick to address that The Simpsons won’t find a new home, it’s just that the times, they are a-changing, as Fox is shifting its distribution model to a more modern system. Fox has announced that you will soon be able to watch The Simpsons online through Fox’s proprietary streaming app as well as continued distribution through Simpsons World.
But I’m starting to hear rumors that the Simpsons distribution might not stop with Fox’s own services. Sources close to the show have hinted that there is a backroom bidding war occurring to be the exclusive third party provider for streaming The Simpsons as well.
My take: I’m betting that Hulu ends up with a big deal alongside Fox and The Simpsons. Partial Fox ownership leads me to believe this would be a big, marquee name for them to own when it comes to streaming rights. With currently only approximately 6% of US homes subscribed to their “Plus” service, a big win like this could be the tipping point that Hulu needs to stay competitive. While I can’t envision it would be as expensive as the Netflix ‘Friends’ deal ($500k an episode), the overall purchase of streaming rights would likely be blockbuster, considering the pure volume (over 500 episodes of television, pause and think about that for a second) of content this would provide the service.
Once again, this is speculation on my end, but I feel there is a great chance this move to end DVD distribution is only going to maximize the effort Fox puts into delivery through VOD streaming services. Fox doesn’t necessarily make a lot of extra money keeping the content exclusive to their own services, which makes the appeal of offering The Simpsons up to the highest bidder likely too great to at least not seriously consider.