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Hulu To Begin Charging For Video Content

All great free things can’t last forever, especially when the entertainment industry is involved. What I’m referring to is Hulu.com, the most popular content streaming service online and where millions of users watch full TV episodes of their favorite shows. According to Jonathan Miller, News Corp’s CDO, Hulu may soon begin charging subscription fees for some of their online content.

For all of us that knows Hulu, loves Hulu – one of the best things about Hulu is that it’s free of charge with limited amounts of advertising. However, when limited advertising is involved – more money needs to be had, at least according to Miller.

News Corp is the parent company of Fox which owns a huge portion of Hulu. When Miller of Newscorp was asked if Hulu would begin charging for online content during an Interview with Daily Finance, he said that “the answer could be yes.” He went on to say that he doesn’t “see why over time that shouldn’t happen.”

While Miller did not directly come out and state that they would be charging for content, he just suggests that it’s definitely a possibility.

The move to begin charging users for content would be a decision that the Hulu board would have to make as a whole. Including News Corp and Fox, other large shareholders include Disney and NBC Universal.

I believe that Hulu pay-per-view or Hulu subscriptions of some kind is definitely on the horizon, which is a bit unfortunate. I’m a fan of Pandora, the free online streaming radio service, where it has free access with limited commercials OR they offer a paid subscription without commercial interruptions. Perhaps Hulu could add a few more advertisements in exchange to keep offering free content and then have a subscription if you don’t want the ads?

What do you think? Should Hulu being charging for content? Would it in return provide us more content?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  1. No way will you ever see me paying for Silver Spoons or Perfect Strangers. I knew this was going to happen. It was only a matter of time!

  2. I’ve been complaining about this to everyone I know. I want Hulu to be better than what it currently is and I think they only way that is going to happen is if they start charging a monthly subscription fee. Define: Better… Better means less fail with this crap of “we’re currently hosting the 5 most recent episodes of…” blah blah blah. For f*cks sake charge me a monthly fee, but guarantee I have access to all episodes past and present of every show listed. There’s your value. If they simply take the existing crap model they are using and slap a subscription fee on it they will inevitably fade into obscurity. I’d speculate that only a small fraction of their current viewers will pay any sort of fee given their current offerings. Honestly with a lack of historical (i.e. past episodes) content and content that is constantly expiring, for most of us it will be back to relying on the DVR and the occasional iTunes download. Not to mention that most of the major networks host their own content on their own sites. Granted the implementation of this by CBS is absolutely laughable, but ABC’s is incredible. (well incredible, outside of the annoying “click to continue” button) The demand is there, however there just is no current “subscription” based service of any quality to fill it. Think of a show you watch that has an actual on-going plot (i.e. not an episodic sitcom) like Lost. No one would want to just willingly jump into watching Lost 7 shows into season 3. You would want to start at the beginning if you could. Your current options for something like Lost (but not specifically Lost since you can watch it all for free on ABC.com) are buy the DVD’s, rent the DVD’s or buy it off of iTunes. If you could simply pay Hulu $10 or $15 a month and know that you would have access to not only the most recent five episodes of any show but all previous seasons, they would have people signing up right and left. Of course this makes way too much sense and actually sounds like a good idea so the chances of Hulu doing it a that of a snowball’s in hell. Just my .02’s worth.

  3. Meh… I was hoping it would preserve the formatting. Sorry.

  4. Charging doesn’t guarantee better service/quality, it’s very simple logic. What? You wanna whine about consumer laws now? Hulu would be the right direction for straightening the paths between bloodsucking MPAA and leeching pirates. But I guess the darkside of the force is harder to resist eh?