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Summary:

Higher ups at News Corp, NBC and Disney talk about having a paid version of Hulu often enough that there’s no way it isn’t happening. But another dose of such comments at a conference in New York yesterday has gotten people quite riled up, with Hulu […]

twitterbitchesabouthuluHigher ups at News Corp, NBC and Disney talk about having a paid version of Hulu often enough that there’s no way it isn’t happening. But another dose of such comments at a conference in New York yesterday has gotten people quite riled up, with Hulu now a trending topic on Twitter and a subject of stories in pubs like Entertainment Weekly.

The difference? News Corp. Deputy Chairman Chase Carey put a number on it. He said at the Broadcasting & Cable OnScreen summit that there’s no formal timeline for Hulu to start charging, but he “supposes” Hulu it will be by 2010.

“I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value,” Carey said. “Hulu concurs with that, it needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business.”

To be clear, Carey is saying that much of the site’s content should remain free. Any paid content should add value for users and revenue for broadcasters, he explained — unlike some proposed “TV Everywhere” authentication schemes which give the same content through a different venue. Hulu premium products could include exclusives, previews, shortened windows, mobile and behind-the-scenes content.

Hulu execs, on the other hand, have been much quieter about the concept of charging for their content. At last year’s NewTeeVee Live, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said his main concern was removing barriers between users and content, and emphasized that advertising was an $80 billion business and Hulu’s greatest opportunity lay within that pool of money.

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  1. One more comment — Hulu CEO Jason Kilar says he obsessively monitors Tweets about the company. His head must be spinning today — there are thousands!

  2. If Hulu starts charging they have to do do better than “exclusives, previews, shortened windows, mobile and behind-the-scenes content.”.

    If I were to pay I’d expect commercial free or, at most, one pre-roll ad and higher quality streaming. WOuld also be nice to see it on Boxee and devices such as Roku, Xbox, etc…

  3. The only way that Hulu is worth paying for is if they get rid of all the crappy restrictions. Let me stream it to the TV through TiVo, Boxee, or Roku, let me watch all programs ad free, let me actually see the entire season/series of a show instead of limiting me to the last five or whatever artificial restriction they want and maybe I’ll be ready to pay out a monthly fee. If they try to charge for what they offer now, I’ll just record it on my DVR and fast forward through the ads instead.

  4. I’m fine with them charging as long as everything that is shot in HD is in HD with no spots obviously, but IT HAS TO HAVE the full archive of the shows that are on there. Why would anyone pay for essentially DVD extras when they can get the show for free OTA. But, if you have the complete archives of the shows, it basically becomes Netflix for TV as Netflix’s online TV content is pretty lacking.

    The last 5 episodes should stay free like it is now.

  5. I think it is great that hulu is considering charging their viewers. I never go their and I don’t care.

  6. I think this is a very bad idea, and they should come up with a way to keep it free and increase revenue. More advertising or another method.

  7. I’m not sure that there’s much to fuss about. If they start charging, then just go back to the OTA/Cable TV you’re already paying for. I use Hulu because I really don’t have time to sit down and watch television, don’t really care to invest in monthly cable service or DVR devices either.

    Personally, I would pay for the service. Provided that the paid service is ad/commercial-free and that they begin to negotiate more content with other studios/networks.

    I appreciate their service as it is, but with additional revenue one would hope they would up their game.

  8. Hulu might die in 2010 | dashPunk Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    [...] To be clear, Carey is saying that much of the site’s content should remain free. Any paid content should add value for users and revenue for broadcasters, he explained — unlike some proposed “TV Everywhere” authentication schemes which give the same content through a different venue. Hulu premium products could include exclusives, previews, shortened windows, mobile and behind-the-scenes content ( New TeeVee). [...]

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    [...] Hulu’s board members have been making rumblings about charging for content, and few people doubt that the company can make a paid model work. In fact, some industry experts see Hulu as pointing to “the end of free TV” (GigaOM Pro, subscription required). Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has already recommended that Apple jump on this trend by introducing a $30-$40 subscription sub-library of its TV shows that could look mighty attractive relative to expensive cable bills. [...]

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