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September 2, 2014

Hulu to charge for content; cubicle dwellers everywhere cringe

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Oct 22nd 2009 3:02PM

HuluHey you. Yeah, you - guy wasting company time by watching last week's episode of Heroes on Hulu. Enjoying it? Well, get ready to cough up some cash to find out what happens next.

In a move that we've all long feared was probably inevitable anyway, Chase Carey, deputy chairman of News Corp. (one of Hulu's co-owners) annouced that Hulu would begin charging users. According to Broadcasting & Cable, Hulu's fees could start as early as 2010.

You may commence booing now.

While this doesn't come as a shock, it's still a disappointment as millions have become accustomed to Hulu's crystal clear free programming with only minimal commercial interruptions.

Carey didn't offer any more than that, other than to say he thought "a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content." Well... duh, but it isn't completely free. As minimal as those commercial interruptions are, they're still generating income, right? It's presumably not enough given this news, but I'd rather see advertising increased before a pay model any day.

Anyway, there's nothing concrete regarding how users will be charged yet, but Carey did say that not everything would be offered for a price, so some content will still be free - as in "ad supported."

Logical guesses? There will probably be monthly passes. Maybe yearly subscriptions? Maybe pay-per-view? If that is the case, why not head over to iTunes where you at least get to keep the content after you buy it? Another possibility is starting a subscription mobile service, which actually does seem worthwhile given the increased usage of video-capable smart phones.

This also creates an interesting situation for Hulu's many partners who re-brand and offer Hulu content via their own video sites - TV Squad's parent AOL, who recently launched SlashControl, included. Will Hulu content cease to be free at these types of outlets as well?

So much for that free "TV show while I eat" lunch.

[via TV Week]

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george

How could anybody say no to 20 a month for all the content you could watch? I would want a better selection, but I totally wouldn't mind paying 20 a month for online cable service. I would even deal with the commercials still, we have commercials on cable and thats not VoD. I have a big screen with a computer hooked up, all I watch is hulu. Period. I will pony up for the service, if its got lots o content. Still sad that its not gonna be free anymore though.....

- George

November 18 2009 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mary

I can watch any network show by going to their web site, from abc to the cw. I can get an entire season of my old favs as well as movies from Netflix and free for 3 weeks from my local library, and MANY other FREE options including You Tube. Pay for Hulu not me, I don't mind their brief commericals and enjoy their vast selection but I have too many free options, my laptop also functions as a television and DVR. They will loose their advertising money if they do this and won't see mine.

October 26 2009 at 6:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DUDE

I'm a registered HULU member. When they start charging, I wont be!

October 26 2009 at 4:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yvette

I live in Japan. And if Hulu made it possible for military familes to see their favorite shows for $10 a month instead of paying for shows noone wants to see (repeated 3-4 times a day) for $79.95 a month......then I'll pay for Hulu. Japan and Europe have been great to me, we just need a better way to see stateside shows.

October 26 2009 at 3:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
snorkelissa

Give me a break people. Don't act like kindergartners. Whether he's a world-traveling big-shot or not is irrelevant --he still made some good intelligent points, which nobody else did. This is the way of the world -You should expect it. Don't be cry-babies. Also agree with CMG, hotboudain & Karen's post. Think with your heads people. Think.

October 26 2009 at 3:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to snorkelissa's comment
snorkelissa

Ignore this post here. It should have been placed on another response which i've now copied it to.

October 26 2009 at 3:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StevenMcFlyJr

Well now, if that don't beat all. What's next? McDonald's Double Dollar Menu? 1$ local payphone calls?

Keep it up "Greedmeisters" & illegal DL's will just consume the net.

October 26 2009 at 2:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon

Is this some kind of bad joke? Who in there right mind would pay to watch clips that are basically rebroadcast from reruns? Sky is falling? People!? wow

October 26 2009 at 2:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ERNIEBAY60

GREED - G R E E D - G R E E D . PAR FOR THE COURSE . HULU YOU S U C K !!

October 26 2009 at 1:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

I think it's gonna shake out one of 2 ways, in the coming decade. Either all internet-based media outlets will start including commercials that you can't fast-forward (as Hulu already does) in an attempt to backpedal away from the free goodies they're now realizing were a bad idea, or the advertising industry will be gradually removed from the equation, and visual media will just be sold like books are, on sites like Amazon. If it sounds good to you, you pay to download it. If nobody's buying, the show's off the shelves. Most places seem to be going for the first idea (more and more non-deletable commercials), but I wish they'd go for the second. I'd rather support my favorites directly, and send the cash straight to them instead of the third party.

October 26 2009 at 1:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kathleen

Seriously! The only reason the majority of people even use Hulu is because it's FREE and you don't have to download anything! Paying people would be their biggest mistake.

October 26 2009 at 1:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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