31 Comments

Summary:

Hulu’s popularity continues to climb (at least according to comScore), but that growth could soon hit a (pay) wall if recent talk by News Corp. and NBC come to pass. Each of those Hulu co-owners have recently dropped the S-bomb (that would be “subscription”) when talking […]

Hulu’s popularity continues to climb (at least according to comScore), but that growth could soon hit a (pay) wall if recent talk by News Corp. and NBC come to pass. Each of those Hulu co-owners have recently dropped the S-bomb (that would be “subscription”) when talking about the future in general and moneymaking prospects of the premium content portal in particular.

During a talk at an Internet Week event the other night, News Corp.’s chief digital officer, Jonathan Miller, suggested some of Hulu’s content might become available only to subscribers. Miller’s comments echoed NBC CEO Jeff Zucker’s words at the D7 conference last week where he said that a Hulu subscription was a possibility.

Granted, these comments were speculation on the parts of Miller and Zucker, and are not to be taken as a concrete road map for Hulu, but since both NBC and News Corp. have some control over Hulu, this chatter can’t be ignored.

The idea of a Hulu subscription seems to fly in the face of what Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said at our NewTeeVee Live Conference last year. During his keynote, Kilar talked about premium content as an impulse decision, and of removing barriers that make it harder to consume. Additionally, he drove home the fact that advertising was an $80 billion business and Hulu’s greatest opportunity lay within that pool of money.

The industry has subscriptions on the brain right now, with studios, networks and multiservice operators all trying to figure out ways to put the “premium” back in premium content.

Regardless, if Hulu was to charge a subscription fee to access certain content, would you pay? If so, how much?

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  1. I knew it. This is some offshoot of that crapass Comcast/Fancast “we will only give you online content if you already subscribe to the cable channel” crap. I knew this would bleed over onto Hulu when Disney became a partner, Disney being deep in bed with Comcast. When is someone going to break up that monopoly?

  2. Hulu Hints at Pay Model « tailslating Thursday, June 4, 2009

    [...] NewTeeVee is taking a poll on how much people are willing to pay. I’m sure that people are filling out the poll based on [...]

  3. I feel like many people are over-reacting on this news. First off, there is no context around what the strategy is. My guess is they’ll keep a similar slate of free shows/movies, and then ADD additional access to content for those who want to subscribe. This is a smart business model. And people need to realize that studios will not create expensive content if they can’t monetize it. So if people want to complain and boycott any sort of pay model, that’s fine, but don’t expect studios to make higher budget shows like 24 and Lost anymore. Expect more reality TV.Also, it’s fine that most people don’t subscribe to the premium service. I’m sure they’re only expecting to convert a small segment, and that’s all they need.

  4. Jack Johnson Thursday, June 4, 2009

    YAWN They will never charge, its all a bunch of hype. Just like when they said they would charge per email you send out.

  5. Davis Freeberg Thursday, June 4, 2009

    I would never pay for Hulu because it doesn’t make sense when they’re just going to remove the content before you have time to watch it anyway, but I do think the business model that MegaVideo is doing is interesting. After you watch more than 45 minutes or so in a day, you have to wait an hour before being able to see more. This incentivizes the power users to subscribe, while still allowing more casual video watchers to not be turned off by pay restrictions. It’s almost a pretty powerful ad, when youre in the middle of a show and you want to see how it ends without coming back later.

    1. I would be willing to pay for an ultra-Hulu, with full seasons of more shows.

  6. this has to be where it is going. ultimately the studios – and whoever else owns online video – are not going to care about offending the Hulu viewers since, after all, they don’t pay, so… they are not actually CUSTOMERS. why would they show any sense of loyalty to a group of people, no matter how large, that is essentially consuming their product for far less than market value? my guess is they’d rather have 1 million paid subscribers than 15 million watching for free.

  7. Pocketsurfer Thursday, June 4, 2009

    I guess many companies are going on the pay for service way lets see how this does

  8. Dominionsurfer Thursday, June 4, 2009

    I dont think so tehy will charge and even if they do i would want their service

  9. What to read on the GigaOM network Thursday, June 4, 2009

    [...] | 9:57 AM PT | 0 comments 5 gotchas that could hinder the success of the Palm Pre (jkOnTheRun) Poll: Would you pay for Hulu? If so, how much? (NewTeeVee) Review: The Sims 3 for Mac (TheAppleBlog) Sony Ericsson launches green phones — [...]

  10. I’d definitely pay if I could download seasons or episodes like the (dare I say it) Zune subscription model…

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