Print 40 comment(s) - last by Wolfpup.. on Apr 26 at 11:21 PM

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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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
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.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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