Hulu’s long-anticipated Hulu Plus launches today in preview mode, promising deeper access to most of the video portal’s current broadcast shows and a library of back seasons — in some cases, like Arrested Development, full runs — in exchange for $9.99 a month.
To start, that will buy access across PCs and Macs; some Samsung internet-enabled TVs, Blu-ray players and Blu-ray home theater systems; and the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPad, iPhones 3GS/4, and third-gen iPod Touch. The first gaming console access will be PS3, coming soon, with Xbox 360 scheduled in early 2011. As was the case with the initial Hulu launch, it’s a rolling process using a combination of invites and promo codes to manage the flow; this time, it’s even more important given the addition of online payments and the number of devices. The sales pitch: “More wherever. More whenever. Than ever.”
In an interview with paidContent, his first following today’s announcement, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar stressed the continuing importance of free, ad-supported Hulu, noting the company’s projections of being cash-flow positive this year. “We’ve got a great business at Hulu; it’s going to continue to grow and prosper. Hulu Plus is incremental and complementary.” As for suggestions that Hulu Plus took too long to come to market, Kilar said, “We’ve moved incredibly fast given how revolutionary this is.” (He also wrote a Hulu blog post video demo below, along with the press release.)
The preview is launching without content from CBS (NYSE: CBS) or any other programmers who would be new to Hulu. Kilar says the first goal was to work with content partners who are already part of Hulu. That includes equity partners NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), Disney (NYSE: DIS) and News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). In all, about 100 content brands are part of the preview, contributing hundreds of shows and thousands of episodes. Hulu is still interested in adding content. “As you can imagine, we have conversations with a lot of folks and would love to welcome more and more. That has not changed one bit.”
Hulu Launches Preview of Subscription Service Hulu Plus