Watch 'Shark Tank' for free on Hulu.com, but not Hulu Plus?

The show, which stars Mark Cuban, cannot be watched by those who actually pay for access to network television shows.

Hulu.com users can watch "Shark Tank."
Hulu.com users can watch "Shark Tank." Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Hulu Plus users who pay $8 per month for the service would expect to have the latest selection of television shows. But that might not be the case in every situation.

Peter Kafka over at All Things Digital today reported that Hulu Plus users are not able to watch the latest episode of "Shark Tank" on ABC. Those who access the free Hulu.com or ABC's own Web site, however, can watch the show -- which stars Mark Cuban and chronicles the investments venture capitalists are willing to make as entrepreneurs pitch them ideas -- without any trouble.

So, what gives? According to Kafka, it has to do with some odd legalese that limits ABC from distributing the show to subscription services. A representative from the company told Kafka that Sony, the company that produces the show, must ink the deal that will bring "Shark Tank's" latest episodes to Hulu Plus.

For Hulu Plus users, that might be a bitter pill to swallow. By paying $8 per month for access to the service, users are effectively handing over cash to watch the latest episodes of available programs on any product they want. In the vast majority of cases, that happens. In the case of "Shark Tank," however, it's not.

CNET tested out the odd omission on a Samsung HDTV outfitted with Hulu Plus. Upon booting up the service, only previous episodes of "Shark Tank" were shown to be viewable. The first episode of season four, however, was available on Hulu.com.

In my searching, I couldn't find anything else that fits into that odd case.

CNET has contacted Hulu for comment on the All Things Digital report. We will update this story when we have more information.

 

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