Hulu to charge? It’s getting closer…
Everybody loves free. But free has a price. And that price might just be $9.95 a month, according to The Los Angeles Times, which writes that Hulu, the second most popular video site in the U.S, will soon start charging for a premium version of its site called Hulu Plus. We haven’t been able to confirm the details yet (Hulu’s staffers are sticking to the ol’ decline to comment). But rumors of premium version of Hulu have been doing the rounds for the last year. Back in October an NBC executive said the company was experimenting with various business models, including subscription content.
Let’s also not forget Hulu is soon to be a third owned by Comcast (through its ongoing acquisition of NBC) — which is not known for giving video programming away for free. Its other parents, News Corp and Disney, also aren’t known for their charity in the video programming business.
And it’s not just Hulu, YouTube has also started to experiment with pricing models and has indicated it would be open to subscription models if its content partners asked for it.
Still, how will consumers feel about paying to watch their favorite shows online? And is there any chance a premium Hulu, when it becomes partly owned by a cable company, will undermine the TV Everywhere project? TV Everywhere offers ‘free’ online TV if you’re already a paying cable subscriber.
And, hey, $9.95 is a lot less than the average $60 most cable companies charge for a standard cable video package.