According to The LA Times, the popular online media-viewing website, Hulu, is getting ready to begin testing a system where users would pay $9.95 per month to watch their favorite TV shows on the site.
The set-up, which may start by late May, would allow anyone to freely watch the newest five episodes of shows from bigger networks such as Fox, NBC, and ABC, but would require you to become a paid monthly subscribers in order to see anything else and catch up with whole seasons.
It’s not known yet whether commercials would still play during a paid subscriber’s current video watching session, but that will likely be a major factor in whether a subscription is worth it or not. The report indicates that Hulu is second only to YouTube for video viewing, and brings in $100 MILLION just based on its advertising alone. Assuming that a company is even remotely greedy, it wouldn’t make much sense for them to stop the ads, despite this approaching fee.
The website — owned by NewsCorp, NBC Universal (they’ve made great choices lately!), and The Walt Disney Company — has been under pressure by the well-dressed business-types behind the curtain to introduce a paid subscription service as television channels have become more and more frustrated by loss of ratings due to the large group who choose to watch online.
Being someone who hates watching anything online, this matters not to I. However, I have to imagine faithful Hulu users will not be thrilled by the news. The reason things like this and OnDemand services are s appealing is that they allow us to watch when we choose to watch, and for the most part, it’s free to us.
One would have to assume that requiring people to start paying money for this service will lead to a lot of lost users — I know I sure as hell wouldn’t be paying if I was a fan of the site. Then again, many people love their TV online, so who knows how good or bad it will ultimately play out.
What do you guys think? Smart move by Hulu, or dumbest decision ever?