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Hulu will be cutting users off from much of its content in May. To gain access to older content, they will now have to pay a subscription fee. More ads are coming soon, as well.
Customers will have to pony up $9.95 in order to see a comprehensive selection of the season's episodes; more ads coming, too

Since March 2008, Hulu has been offering guests a wealth of free TV episodes from parent companies NBC Universal (General Electric), Fox Entertainment Group (News Corp) and ABC Inc. (The Walt Disney Company).  Well, they're not totally free -- you have to watch the occasional ad.  Still, the premise has been a hit, rocketing Hulu to short list of elite websites that includes the likes of YouTube and Facebook.  

The last few months of 2009 were a happy one for Hulu -- it enjoyed its first profitable quarter.  Despite that success, early this year the reoccurring rumor popped up that Hulu was going to start charging subscriptions for at least some of its content.

The only difference is that this time the rumor appears to be true.  Starting in May, Hulu will reportedly air a $9.95 monthly subscription service.  It will continue to offer a bit of free content -- the five most recent episodes of popular shows like Fox's "Glee," "ABC's "Lost" or NBC's "Saturday Night Live".

The crucial difference will be that the current vast library of past episodes and content will be closed off from non-subscribers, accessible only if you pay the monthly fee.

That may be acceptable, considering the average Hulu episode has less commercials than the average TV episode.  But that's the other piece of bad news -- Hulu is reportedly considering upping its number of commercials in the near future as well.

Ultimately the subscription fee isn't horribly high.  However, it will certainly turn some away from the internet's second most popular video site.  And it will make it harder for users to share content, a major source of Hulu's popularity.  

The networks are intent on increasing their profits and bringing the Hulu revenue more in line with the cable offerings.  However, if they load the episodes with commercials, on top of the planned subscription fee, they just might find that internet users aren't quite as interested.



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Reasonable
By Lonyo on 4/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: Reasonable
By ThePooBurner on 4/22/2010 11:00:14 AM , Rating: 2
Netflix has a huge library of TV shows for streaming. However it doesn't do current season, to my knowledge.


RE: Reasonable
By Belegost on 4/22/2010 11:06:19 AM , Rating: 3
While it has only managed to get a few shows currently running, it does have them. Right now the fiancee and I watch Legend of the Seeker on Netflix every week.


RE: Reasonable
By kattanna on 4/22/2010 11:41:43 AM , Rating: 4
a current netflix show, spartacus blood and sand is VERY worth watching.

too bad the 1st season is over now.


RE: Reasonable
By Shin Messiah on 4/23/2010 12:16:27 AM , Rating: 2
On Netflix, during the last Heroes season they would air you could stream new episodes within a day or two of it being broadcast on tv.I belive House was/is the same


RE: Reasonable
By SunAngel on 4/22/2010 11:50:16 AM , Rating: 2
So true. I paid $17/month alone for the hd-dvr and at any given time could only hold 40 1-hour hd episodes. So for $9.95/month I am very happy to pay and get the entire library at will. Even more so, I will up my internet speed to 50 down/20 up and pick up Comcast's 4G/3G service. Now everyone in the house can watch and not get stuttering when one too many is watching at the same time.


RE: Reasonable
By stirfry213 on 4/22/2010 12:19:49 PM , Rating: 3
Current episodes is about all I watch on Hulu, so this is fine by me.

However, if I decided to pay $10/mo, I'd expect more in return than just giving me access to what I previously had. I wish that Netflix and Hulu could join forces in some way to provide both movies and current episodes.


RE: Reasonable
By kattanna on 4/22/2010 12:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I wish that Netflix and Hulu could join forces


that would be an awesome merger.

i'd also like to see Hulu become a channel on the roku player that i use for netflix already.


RE: Reasonable
By FITCamaro on 4/22/2010 12:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
If they offered good HD quality with all new shows available, I wouldn't even bother with cable service. Just get internet. Course that'd be a problem come football season.


RE: Reasonable
By Spuke on 4/23/2010 12:11:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If they offered good HD quality with all new shows available, I wouldn't even bother with cable service. Just get internet. Course that'd be a problem come football season.
Yep, I'd pay the money for HD streaming. But I would have to wonder how the streaming compression compares with broadcast or DirecTV/Dish's compression. If it's the same cool, if not, I'll stick with DirecTV. Football would be an issue though.


RE: Reasonable
By Reclaimer77 on 4/22/2010 4:21:05 PM , Rating: 5
10 a month is reasonable. 10 a month WITH ads is not!

Burn in hell Hulu. You sold out.


Hmm
By Spivonious on 4/22/2010 9:53:52 AM , Rating: 5
Hulu is stupid if they charge users and continue to show advertisements.

If I were in charge, I'd up the commercials for free content (going from the 1-2 per episode to maybe 4-5) but have zero commercials for paying subscribers.

Any word on a Media Center 7 plug-in for Hulu?




RE: Hmm
By MGSsancho on 4/22/2010 10:15:57 AM , Rating: 2
With hardware acceleration (should already be there) also while were making request, I would like to know when I can specify location for cached video content/dvr/etc and when I can full screen Media Center and use my other monitor. If microsoft will not allow cache to be put on a network drive only internal, then that is cool too for us iSCSI users.


RE: Hmm
By Spivonious on 4/22/2010 11:25:01 AM , Rating: 2
Media Center supports hardware acceleration for MPEG2, h.264 and VC-1.

There's no way in the interface to specify the caching location, but you can change a value in the registry to set it.

Dual monitors works for me. Are you running Win7?


RE: Hmm
By jimbojimbo on 4/23/2010 11:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't worry about this guy. He's full of errors in his post. For instance iSCSI, while on a network, behaves like a local drive so his request doesn't make any sense.


RE: Hmm
By cornelius785 on 4/22/2010 11:44:51 AM , Rating: 4
"Hulu is stupid if they charge users and continue to show advertisements."

Uuhhhhh.... call me stupid, but how is this different from paying $60 to $100 per month to the cable company to view channels with commercials?


RE: Hmm
By ClownPuncher on 4/22/2010 4:04:17 PM , Rating: 1
Because people will pay for cable, things they used to get for free, not so much.


RE: Hmm
By OoklaTheMok on 4/22/2010 4:05:30 PM , Rating: 3
This is exactly why I dropped my satellite subscription. I remember the days when we only could watch TV over the air. There weren't any subscription fees. Yeah, the picture quality was lacking, but I could still watch my show for the most part.

Somehow now, the broadcast companies have convinced the masses that they need to pay to watch their ad sponsored television programs. Consumers effectively pay for the privilege of watching advertisements. The shows are paid for twice, once through advertising and again through fees to the cable/satellite providers who in turn pass the cost onto consumers.

Why do the cable and satellite providers have to pay to carry a channel? If I was running some broadcast station that didn't have over-the-air coverage, I'd be happy as hell to just get the providers to carry my channel so that I can sell advertisements to pay for the programs.

I have no problem paying a provider to allow me to watch TV programs for a reasonable fee, but anything beyond $15-20 is excessive. Yeah, I sound cheap, but if my eyeballs are forced to watch the advertisements, then I do not want to pay for the content on top of that. It's double-dipping.

On top of all that... TV programs currently have longer commercial interruptions than they use to. A few years ago, I did a comparison with a then current TV program, and the same TV program recorded a few years earlier. The commercial breaks for the then current program had 1-2 more ads in each break than the one recorded a couple years previous. A current "30 minute" show only has about 20 minutes of content and then 10 minutes of ads spread throughout the show. It's impossible to financially justify paying so much money monthly to spend 20-30% of the time watching ads on top of that.


RE: Hmm
By Spuke on 4/23/2010 12:19:15 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It's impossible to financially justify paying so much money monthly to spend 20-30% of the time watching ads on top of that.
I hate commercials and channel surfing with a passion so I only watch recorded content. My DVR is nearly full. I rarely watch live TV and if I do, it's usually a football game. Even then, 1/2 the time I let the DVR record 30 minutes or so of the game then watch it so I can fast forward through the commercials.


RE: Hmm
By corduroygt on 4/22/2010 7:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
Because the cable company is bringing programming to your home using their network. Hulu is just leeching your existing connection.


RE: Hmm
By jimbojimbo on 4/23/2010 11:14:03 AM , Rating: 2
You're right, Hulu's connection to the internet is completely free right?


Will use Hulu less...
By NullSubroutine on 4/22/2010 4:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with I have with Hulu is probably a result of the media corporations that wanted Hulu to not be "free" and wanted higher royalty rates.

I remember when I found out that there was a new Stargate (Stargate Universe) out and I had been missing it on TV. So what did I do? I went onto Hulu to catch up where I was and now I watch it every Friday night when I'm home. If it had not been for Hulu I would not have started watching the show. No one likes jumping into a show mid season.

Same thing with Lost, I'd never seen it before and starting in February I went on Hulu and watched every single episode (except some of the latest season which wasn't on there and had to watch elsewhere). Now I watch Lost every night it comes on.

By putting past content behind subscriptions the same thing cannot occur in the future. I will either not watch the show, or I will obtain it through another free means. I have no problem watching stuff online where I "pay" them by watching ads, but I am not going to pay money to them just because the media corporations are a bunch of whiny bitches that need to increase profits every quarter to get raises.




RE: Will use Hulu less...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/22/2010 5:03:29 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I remember when I found out that there was a new Stargate (Stargate Universe) out and I had been missing it on TV.


Lol Trust me, you aren't missing much. It's terrible.

quote:
I watch it every Friday night when I'm home.


Wow... you're Friday nights are THAT bad huh ?


RE: Will use Hulu less...
By NullSubroutine on 4/23/2010 2:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
I actually like the new SGU, and yes, not being able to find a job makes Friday nights those sorts of things where it is most economical to stay where I'm living (which isn't my home) and not go and do things.


So be it
By Suntan on 4/22/2010 10:14:10 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmm… For $10 a month, Netflix also sends you a disc everytime you send them one back.

$10 for hulu seems awfully overpriced considering they are using my bandwidth to send it to me.

If hulu managed to have *every* episode on file and I had assurances that they would stay there, I’d be somewhat interested in paying $5 a month. But they also have to *fully* support mobile flash playback on smartphones once adobe finally gets that out.

As it is now, any shows I am interested in seems to have a couple of episodes, but either not the one I missed, or else it has shows 4,5,6 and 7; but I never saw 1,2 and 3 so it is close to useless. As such, the times that I can use hulu to catch a show my computer didn't DVR, and that they actually have available, comes out to less than once a month, so no big deal to me if they go paid. I'll just stop using them.

-Suntan




RE: So be it
By Hiawa23 on 4/22/2010 12:09:23 PM , Rating: 2
Netflix is all I need. Between Blu-ray, & instant streamin, I am totally happy with that.


hwo out of touch can they be?
By invidious on 4/22/2010 10:42:32 AM , Rating: 4
Increasing cost and decreasing convinience without adding any functionality is a great way to turn a barely profitable website into a ghost town.

Hulu already had too many ads for my taste. But if they are going to charge money then there should be ZERO ads. No comercials, no popups, no banners.

Netflix is my hope for a brighter digital media future. They just need to make their library 100% available for streaming and change the interface to be content driven isntead of disc driven.




Hulu Ads
By mgilbert on 4/22/2010 11:52:38 AM , Rating: 2
I refuse to watch ads, period. If that means throwing my TV out, then that's what I'll do.

I currently record everything I watch on my PC, through a tuner card, and I skip the commercials during playback. I'm paying for cable, and I'll be damned if I'll pay again by watching 20 minutes worth of ads per hour.

I've never used Hulu because of the commercials, and I would encourage everyone NOT to pay a monthly fee for Hulu, if ads are included. You'd be paying twice. Don't do it...




RE: Hulu Ads
By DeathBooger on 4/22/2010 12:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
That's like refusing to pay for gas because you already bought a car. Paying for cable pays the cable company to keep their cable network up to date and company afloat. Commercials make TV shows possible. This is why you pay extra for HBO and the like.

I hate repeated commercials as much as the next guy, but I at least view ones I haven't seen yet. With out them you wouldn't have anything to watch.


Oh well
By nvalhalla on 4/22/2010 9:51:35 AM , Rating: 3
Looks like it had a good run. Back to sidereel.com and the likes...




Step in the right direction
By monitorjbl on 4/22/2010 11:42:54 AM , Rating: 3
This is a nice sort of compromise; the free users won't really notice anything because Hulu generally only shows 5 episodes from the current season for most popular shows, and the paid service lets you get access to a bigger library. I am one of those people that will gladly sit through commercials if I can have an on-demand service with shows I actually care about on it and if I had the money to do so I would pay for the service (I'm a college student and therefore poor).

I'm really glad that the studios are finally coming to terms with the realities of the internet because here's the thing: I'm one of those people that will get the content he wants on his terms, no matter what. If I want to see something and the only way I can is by waiting for it to come on TV or buying some stupidly overpriced DVD box set, I have no qualms about downloading it or finding it online somewhere for free. I'm not generally an advocate of piracy, I tend to buy music off iTunes and I will always check legitimate channels before I go off and download something, but if the terms presented to me are not favorable or fair, I'll get it my own way. I realize this is a contradictory statement, but it's the way I and a lot of computer-savvy people are.

It comes down to this: with the internet, it's just too easy to get things for free, and asking some huge price for it is just being unreasonable. The economics of the internet sort of transform basic supply and demand into something more complex with an additional "this stuff is easily obtainable at no cost if the user is willing" factor thrown in there. I don't claim to know how it should all work, but this is a good first step; give the users that don't want to pay access to new content and give the ones that are willing to pay access to the entire library on demand. Anyway, hats off to Hulu (and by association the major networks) for figuring this out after so long.




no thanks
By inperfectdarkness on 4/22/2010 9:54:04 AM , Rating: 2
got my netflix play disc last week.

what's hulu?




boooo
By conorvansmack on 4/22/2010 10:47:40 AM , Rating: 2
This could suck. I've been catching up to Lost on hulu, and I'd be willing to pay for it, but they aren't making this a difficult choice for me. Neflix is the same price and I'd have the choice of watching it on my computer or on my TV. The only place that they are creating value or giving me something that isn't available elsewhere is episodes of a show that haven't been released on DVD.




console streaming
By nafhan on 4/22/2010 11:10:32 AM , Rating: 2
If the subsciption fee included a Hulu "app" for playback on the Xbox/PS3/Wii, I'd pay for it. I use Netflix on Xbox 360 all the time.




By sintaxera on 4/22/2010 11:24:20 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, I have a little netbook I use at work on the weekends to watch my favorite shows. Hulu sucks. If I go to abc.com, or comedycentral.com, etc. The shows run great. Netflix runs great. Hulu is a stuttering mess. If they start to charge, I'll just go to another source, like the shows original website. It's amazing how much better Silverlight based Netflix is compared to Flash based Hulu. No wonder Apple is leery of it.




Why pay for what's free?
By JDoobs on 4/22/2010 12:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, can someone explain to me why they would pay a monthly for what the parent companies offer up for free at the same time? Does this mean current episodes are no longer going to be on ABC or Fox sites?

Oh well looks like I'll be finding a new way to watch the shows then.




I would really like to care...
By Xavi3n on 4/22/2010 2:20:46 PM , Rating: 2
But since Hulu never allows people to view programs from outside the U.S, I'm struggling to find a reason to do so.




Flash
By Fancarolina on 4/22/2010 3:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
If Hulu expects consumers to pay more per month then Netflix for their service. Then they will have to ditch all the ads, and make their service work on more platforms (ie. Ditch flash). Netflix works on Xbox 360's, PS3's, Wii's, The Roku Player, iPad's and PC/Mac's. How can you compete by charging more for less content with more ads that works on few devices.




By VooDooAddict on 4/26/2010 9:29:55 AM , Rating: 2
Remove Ads and Add Hulu to 360/Ruku and I'm in.

Keep adds, charge more than netflix, and have fewer viewing options than nextflix and amazon = failure.




It's not the ads I mind...
By Wolfpup on 4/26/2010 11:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really have a problem with ads that much, nor necessarily with a subscription model-it's just that at a MINIMUM it needs to work on all kinds of hardware, and ideally it needs to support downloads so you can in some fashion watch stuff on a laptop without streaming.

But like at home, I want to watch TV on my TV, not my computer.




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