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Will you subscribe at half the price?  (Source: Hulu)
Rumor suggests that $9.99 price was more than most beta users were willing to pay

Networks and movie rental firms see the writing on the wall; many consumers are starting to demand streaming content rather than having to watch via conventional TV or cable service. Netflix has a very robust streaming service and the company now considers itself a streaming firm that also mails DVDs.

Hulu announced this summer that it would be bringing a subscription service to users that would allow them to access more shows and movies and watch that content on devices like web connected TVs, the iPad, and the iPhone. When Hulu first talked the service up the price for a membership was pegged at $9.99 per month. Hulu has been testing the service with some lucky users for a few months now. 

According to 
AllThingsD sources are now saying that Hulu is considering a significant reduction in the price of its streaming service. That price reduction rumor, if true, would seem to suggest that beta users are not as interested in the service at nearly $10 per month as Hulu expected. The sources cited by AllThingsD claim that Hulu is looking at a new price of $4.95 per month.

If that rumor turns out to be true, the price should make the service much more appealing to users considering that for about the same $10 the subscription Hulu service was going to cost, Netflix users can get streaming and DVDs in the mail.



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RE: I heard...
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2010 9:59:08 AM , Rating: 0
I personally would love a service that gives me all the new shows I want to watch for $10 a month. I don't have an issue with commercials either. That's how shows happen. Ad revenue. Actors, directors, writers, etc. don't work for free.


RE: I heard...
By Golgatha on 10/22/2010 10:07:09 AM , Rating: 5
If I'm going to pay a monthly fee to watch traditionally ad-supported "free" content, I kinda expect my content to come without the advertisements since I'm paying to watch it. Anyone else remember when you used to get a cable subscription because most of the channels didn't have commercials?

Double dipping and frankly wasting my time will not be tolerated. Either put it out there for free and include the ads, or I pay a fee to not be bothered with the ads. Content producers need to wake up to 2010 and realize this is a pull content when it's convenient for me to watch it era, not a push spoon feed it to me with commercials when it's convenient for the content producers model.


RE: I heard...
By tdawg on 10/22/2010 11:17:50 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly! I'll gladly pay a small monthly fee for Hulu+ if I don't have to watch commercials. If commercials are required, then I shouldn't have to pay to watch it--advertisers are doing that for me.


RE: I heard...
By quiksilvr on 10/22/2010 12:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and no. There has to be middle ground. I would at LEAST wish they would cut down on the commercial time. Like in one hour shows, just put a 15 second ad instead of a minute (sometimes two minutes).


RE: I heard...
By twhittet on 10/22/2010 12:12:43 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Why not keep the old 9.95$ model in, with no or at least reduced advertisements?


RE: I heard...
By FITCamaro on 10/24/2010 4:25:50 PM , Rating: 2
Ok but lookat quantity of ad differences. Free shows on the internet typically have one ad every 6-7 minutes. Four per 24-25 minute episode. At least in my experience.

On TV though in the same show you'll see 5-6 ads per commercial break. $10 a month isn't going to cover the differences in revenue.


RE: I heard...
By AmbroseAthan on 10/22/2010 11:29:05 AM , Rating: 2
I feel like a lot of people are assuming $4.95/month would even come close to covering the advertising revenue. It would not, not even close. It would scare me to think how much TV watching would cost if it existed without advertising. You would end up paying for each channel like it was a premium movie channel (HBO, etc).

I am a HuluPlus user already (at $9.95), and the subscription allows me 720p on most primetime shows, almost all shows are viewable on the next day (regular hulu users often have a longer wait on some shows), and I can easily watch it off a PS3 in my Living Room. Also, I should soon be able to stream HuluPlus to my phone (Android support comes soon), Xbox360, or most Sony/Samsung TVs. Apple users are able to stream to iPhones, iTouches, and iPads.

The above is who this service is aimed at. If you are looking for commercial free, that is not what HuluPlus is about. HuluPlus is offered to cover additional services beyond those who will just be using a computer for viewing.


RE: I heard...
By Suntan on 10/22/2010 1:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
So you volunteer to pay $10 a month... ...to watch shows with the commercials... ...that are also broadcast in higher quality for free with commercials...

Given that hulu is getting major pushback from the few cable-based channels affiliated with them to not provide cable-channel content on hulu+, why bother paying money for access to broadcast only content?

I’d contemplate paying $5 a month (even with a *small* number of commercials) if I could get access to the cable based shows that I can’t get for free OTA, but I have no desire to pay just to get access to shows already free OTA.

-Suntan


RE: I heard...
By AmbroseAthan on 10/22/2010 2:34:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
So you volunteer to pay $10 a month... ...to watch shows with the commercials... ...that are also broadcast in higher quality for free with commercials...

Does OTA allow me to watch primetime shows whatever, whenever, wherever? HuluPlus does.

I live in an apartment with roommates, and unless we pay for multiple DVR boxes, there is no way to record everything we watch (U-Verse would help, but not available). Between Primetime TV & sports networks, there is limited ability to record/watch shows. Hulu fills that niche, and allows me to play the primetime networks when I want, and on the go (on iTouch, soon EVO).

As I stated above, HuluPlus is not targeted at people looking for commercial free experiences. It is targeted at people who want to be able to access it from elsewhere then their primary TV setup, or who are limited by their current DVR abilities.


RE: I heard...
By Suntan on 10/22/2010 3:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As I stated above, HuluPlus is not targeted at people looking for commercial free experiences. It is targeted at people who want to be able to access it from elsewhere then their primary TV setup, or who are limited by their current DVR abilities.


There are other alternatives. Better DVR capabilities that will allow you to do all the things that you say are advantages with hulu+. All without the need to pay monthly.

In any case, if the "convenience" is worth it for you, or if you and your roommates just don’t know how to evaluate your other options. Knock yourself out.

-Suntan


RE: I heard...
By Solandri on 10/22/2010 2:00:45 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
I feel like a lot of people are assuming $4.95/month would even come close to covering the advertising revenue. It would not, not even close. It would scare me to think how much TV watching would cost if it existed without advertising.

Total TV industry revenue in the U.S. is about $15 billion, and has been declining due to Internet growth.
http://broadcastengineering.com/newsrooms/tv-reven...

The U.S. has about 310 million people. If you figure 20% of them are too young to view TV or don't watch TV, that's 248 million viewers. $15 billion over 248 million viewers is $60/yr or $5/mo in advertising revenue per person. So $4.95/mo per person sounds about right for all the free OTA programming you want.

If you do it by household (figure each household shares the same Hulu account), the U.S. has about 115 million households. That works out to $130/yr per household, or $11/mo. Basically, the old and new service fee for Hulu pretty much exactly offsets their loss in advertising revenue.

That's if the person pays for the service fee. Truth is, the Internet broke TV's stranglehold on people's free time. That's what's causing the decline in their revenue - web browsing, Facebook, online chat, online games, etc. Not piracy.


RE: I heard...
By AmbroseAthan on 10/22/2010 2:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Truth is, the Internet broke TV's stranglehold on people's free time. That's what's causing the decline in their revenue - web browsing, Facebook, online chat, online games, etc. Not piracy.


This is partially true. That is a cause of the decline, but the primary cause has been the global recession. Companies simply do not have the advertising money they previously had, so their demand for air-time is less, causing a deflated price for the air time. As money is freed up for advertising, we will see the revenues increase again.

I do agree with your point though, if you made everyone who was TV-able pay for the service, at current rates it would cover television production, but it would be necessary to make everyone pay for it to work. I think the number of people who would be willing to pay would be much less then 80% of the population, so the cost would be higher.

And I would still end up paying on top of that for the channels that do not exist on OTA.


RE: I heard...
By tdawg on 10/22/2010 8:31:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ad revenue already pays for 1st run broadcasts and syndication for those shows that go that way. Adding a subscription fee to on-demand digital availability of reruns should be enough to cover server costs. Demanding both a subscription and forced ad viewing is just greedy on the part of content providers.


RE: I heard...
By marvdmartian on 10/22/2010 12:22:19 PM , Rating: 5
Yep, that's one of the advantages of satellite radio. Not just the ability to drive cross country without having to change the station every hour or so, but to do so with no (or extremely limited) commercials.

Always kills me, listening to commercial radio, when they brag about 30 or 45 minutes commercial free.....only to follow it up with 5 minutes worth of commercials! Guess what? I'm changing to another station!!


RE: I heard...
By Spivonious on 10/22/2010 10:14:44 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. The TV stations have to pay the people involved in making the show, and if that means I have to watch commercials then so be it. I'd much rather have full TV access with with commercials than have limited choice with no commercials.


RE: I heard...
By Motoman on 10/22/2010 10:22:15 AM , Rating: 2
I feel that, as a consumer, if I'm paying a service provider for access to it's service, that I should expect it to be ad-free...because I'm paying for it.

Advertise on a free-to-use service all you want. That's the trade-off.


RE: I heard...
By zephyrxero on 10/22/2010 11:31:53 AM , Rating: 1
This is something that's always bothered me about Magazines and Newspapers too....why should I pay $5 for a copy of your magazine when every third page is nothing but ads? Pick one!

With that said, alot of the things people dislike about Hulu are the fault of the content producers still not getting it...and so if they were to offer an ad free service, it might be much higher...like $20-30. However, if they had every show, and every channel that would still be cheaper than the $40/mo you pay for someone like Comcast ;)


RE: I heard...
By guacamojo on 10/22/2010 12:24:00 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
why should I pay $5 for a copy of your magazine when every third page is nothing but ads? Pick one!

Why should they pick one?

The magazine would be $20 if it didn't have ads (like Consumer Reports); how much would that reduce their circulation? Would you buy it?

Conversely, how hard is it for you to flip past the ads? I'd venture it's much easier for you to skip ads in print than on TV...

I think you're severely low-balling the cost of a commercial-free service. They have to pay for the content somehow, and $20-30 per month won't do it.


RE: I heard...
By Motoman on 10/23/2010 10:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
That's just the thing.

As noted, as the consumer, it's pretty darned easy to flip right past those ads in a magazine or newspaper. They don't really intrude into your enjoyment of the magazine.

That's totally different than commercials in TV shows. If you're watching live TV, you either have to sit through the commercials for a few minutes, or resort to channel surfing and play a bit of a game, trying to avoid the annoying commercials but yet not miss any of the show you wanted to watch.

When the TV service is free to the consumer, like OTA or streaming from the network's website (like, watching an NCIS episode on CBS.com that you missed), the commercials are what paid for your ability to see the show. Therefore...I'm OK with it. I may be annoyed that I have no way to skip or fast forward through the commercials in that NCIS episode from CBS.com...but I remind myself that I didn't have to pay anything to see it, so I just do my best to ignore the commercials while they play.

When a TV service is paid for by the consumer, it seems inappropriate to have commercials interspersed throughout the shows as normally would be done with an OTA service. The consumer in this case is directly paying the provider for their service...and when commercials are then forced upon the consumer, the consumer is effectively paying the provider to make them watch commercials (that the provider has made money on already from the advertiser). Way back when cable TV first came out, one of the promises that got people to switch was the promise of less advertising...since you were paying for the service. That promise was dropped faster than a prom dress.

Now, I know that it may be unlikely that a network/provider could operate completely on subscription fees...but it may be that no one has leveraged current technology on that kind of business model to make it work. Failing any way to have paid-for TV (and other paid-for video services) be completely commercial-free, I'd be pretty happy to see it's advertising limited to the way PBS does their "sponsorships." Right at the beginning of a PBS show, there will be a brief display of someone's logo, with a voice over...something like "This episode of 'Cats Licking Themselves' brought to you by Legg's Pantyhose" - which lasts no longer than it takes the announcer to say those words. Then the show starts, runs it's entirety, and then the sponsor is noted again in the closing credits. That is as classy a way to do TV/video advertising as you're going to get. It's unobtrusive but makes sure the consumer knows who underwrote the show they're watching...and because it's not annoying to the consumer, probably does a lot more in the way of generating good will than having to sit through 3 minutes of commercials every 10 minutes.


RE: I heard...
By Noya on 10/22/2010 6:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, if they had every show, and every channel that would still be cheaper than the $40/mo you pay for someone like Comcast ;)


You're way off. If you want every hit cable series (HBO, Showtime, etc) you're looking at $90+ month for a premium HD package.


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