Online VOD Service Hulu May Charge For Free Content In 2010

In what comes across as another sign of the demise of free internet, TV site Hulu has confirmed that it will be changing its business model following recent remarks by News Corp’s deputy chairman Chase Carey that suggest that the site might start charging for some its programmes.

Speaking at the Media Summit, Mr Carey explained his disagreement with the current business model that Hulu follows and mentioned "I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value…Hulu concurs with (the notion) that it needs to evolve a meaningful subscription model as part of its business."

Any move by Hulu to introduce the new service is unlikely to appeal to its users who can anyway access the same content on television for free or on a minimal charge.

Many analysts believe that the rolling out of a subscription service by Hulu may even prove counterproductive to its business as it may risk losing out on a significant chunk of its regular users and thus lose a major portion of its current advertising based revenue.

Though no specific time frame for the introduction of a subscription service has been set, Mr Carey did mention that the service may be introduced in 2010.

Our Comments

That might or might no change depending on market conditions (that's the advertising market as well as the competition). That said, free content online is there to say despite everything that has been said. Even if broadband broadcasting is not scalable enough for multi-million simultaneous viewers, the rise of Youtube has shown that it is more suited for "long tail videos".

Related Links

TV websites must begin charging, says Murdoch lieutenant

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Very Bad News: Hulu May Start Charging for Online Content Next Year

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More signs Hulu subscription service is coming

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Hulu to be subscription-based service

(Money times)