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Everybody Freak Out! Hulu to Charge by 2010

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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.

19 Responses to “Everybody Freak Out! Hulu to Charge by 2010”

  1. Pung has nailed it exactly — as soon as anyone allows me to watch TV episodes anytime I want, I will cancel all 200 channels of total crap in my current verizon FiOS cable TV — in. a. heartbeat. I will even watch the frigging commericals.

    Best of all for the content provider and the advertisers — they can fire those lame-arse Neilsson’s raters (who helped kill soo many good shows and let sooo many lousy ones live) — it will be trivial to count exactly how many people watch which commercials & whether they switch channels or skip ahead in a show — if the show of commercial sucks, they will get instant feedback.

  2. Hulu, listen up, I have your solution. Everyone has been trying to get Hulu on their tv. By boxee or apple tv or any other way they can. And you’ve blocked them. Here’s why you blocked them: You’re going to make a $200 dollar hulu box. With Wi-fi and HDMI and make it slim, so I can tuck it behind my flatscreen tv mount. There’s some additional revenue right there. You can charge more to advertisers, because it’s not internet pre-roll you’re selling, it’s actual TV commercials which are worth 10x as much. The box will become the must have device for Christmas 2010. Don’t forget Amazon, Netflix, and Slingbox like capability, which you can also skim a little off the top. Also think about: Skype video calls on your tv, an HBO subcription, Storage for music and pictures, an Optical Out for surround sound. You can single-handedly kill comcast and verizon. Someone will do it eventually – apple just may beat you to it.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. 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…