Hulu to charge for subscriptions?

Hulu's $10 subscription service could actually happen. . .and as soon as May.

By Money Staff Apr 22, 2010 2:16PM

By Chadwick Matlin, The Big Money

 

At this rate, whenever Hulu does announce a subscription plan, it’s going to be anticlimactic. Hulu’s CEO, Jason Kilar, has been dropping hints about it for months, and now we have even more detail about what it’s probably going to look like.

 

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that by late May Hulu is going to charge $10 bucks a month for the privilege of watching old videos. If you don’t pay the $10, you’ll still be able to watch the last five episodes of current shows, but nothing beyond that. No word on whether subscribers will still see ads.

For Hulu, this is a gateway business model. The plan isn’t robust enough to fund Hulu’s future on its own.  But it does begin to acclimate Hulu’s users to paying for an archive of content. What falls into that archive is up to Hulu, and there’s nothing that prevents it from moving more and more shows behind the subscription wall as time goes by.

The Times reports that Hulu will continue to stream the last five episodes of a show for free. But what if that quickly becomes only the last three episodes? Or only the last one? Then the subscription plan becomes a must for people. Hulu would incentivize people to subscribe by offering more for the subscription—and offering less to those without one.

 

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