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According to co-owner News Corp, the popular Hulu internet TV service may start charging users subscription fees as early as next year. The site's content is mostly available for free on local broadcast television.  (Source: Hulu)
Just a few fateful words send our dreams of a free Hulu future plunging

Oh fate, why must you mock thee?  After many happy hours of watching, free Hulu may be set to kick the can.  According to a new report the popular internet TV service may begin charging for content as early as next year.

It seems like just a few months ago that happy days were upon us and Hulu was looking to spread its free loving to more and more places, including the iPhone and mobile sphere (wait, that was a few months ago).  Then came the fateful revelation from Chase Carey, President, Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Deputy Chairman of News Corporation (which co-owns Hulu), stating the days of freebies were drawing to an end.

States Mr. Carey, "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."

When asked when the end of the world -- or at least free Hulu -- might occur, Mr. Carey replied that the Hulupocalypse was set to occur sometime next year, in 2010.  He offered us weak reassurance cheering "not all content on Hulu would be behind a pay wall".

The move brings into question Hulu's future.  Many users would stop using Hulu if it wasn't free.  It doesn't seem like many users would pay cable-like fees for content that is already available for free on broadcast television, or at minimal cost with basic cable.  And if those users forsake Hulu, they'll take a pile of advertising revenue with them.

There's still faint hope that the end of free Hulu might be averted.  Indeed, Comcast is looking to partner with Hulu, so that could alter the equation dramatically.  And faced with too much backlash News Corp. may change its mind.  And current co-owner NBC could even nix the idea.  The optimist inside many of us likely will hope for this very badly.  But the pessimist will think that, in the end it will probably happen, and lament why free Hulu had to die so young.  Why do the good always die young?

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It was clear
By Reclaimer77 on 10/22/2009 11:15:01 PM , Rating: 1
It was clear to me from the start that this was always what Hulu had in mind in the first place.

I enjoy Hulu from time to time, but why would I pay for what I can get somewhere else for free ? Most of the time I find myself watching YouTube anyway.

RE: It was clear
By lostvyking on 10/23/2009 7:52:30 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone's watching preferences are different so comments here are bound to by highly subjective with no clear "one size fits all" strategy for Hulu coming to mind.

Hulu has great potential. In one sense it takes all the major channels out there and brings their shows to one location. I have hundreds of channels via Dishnetwork of which I watch content from perhaps a dozen. I am paying a little over $100 per month for this service. If Hulu were to encapsulate the content I watch from those channels, thus making my satellite service obsolete, I could easily see paying $19.95 or maybe as much as $39.95 per month for Hulu to be able to watch all that I watch when I want to watch it and still save $70-$90 a month.

There could be different tiers of Hulu service and perhaps even pay per view options similar to what is on Cable TV now. I am not sure how much an ala-cart system would cost to operate but it would be one way to bring in revenue and yet still have free content out there. I guess it is all just a matter of building value in the eyes of the customer.

As much as people kvetch about paying for a service like Hulu "if they charge, I am walking", going bankrupt and out of business would result in the customer walking anyway.

Good luck Hulu, I hope your future is marked with much success.

RE: It was clear
By reader1 on 10/23/09, Rating: -1
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