News Corp Deputy Chairman Chase Carey told press that the service won’t be free anymore starting as soon as 2010. (That’s in two months, people!)
Carey told reporters that Hulu was likely to become a subscription service, although it’s not clear how the video-streaming site plans to lure users who have been using it for free all along. Over on Twitter, many irritated fans say they would consider paying for the service if ads were cut, but I’d think such a significant change would have been worth a mention by Carey when he broke the news to reporters. Carey merely said:
“I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value.”
Of course, as Hulu has been a “free model” all along, it seems like a tough row to hoe trying to charge for it now. If the only additional access in this scenario is between Hulu and your wallet, customers are likely to just get their content through other means. However, going by other companies who’ve decided to charge for content suddenly with no added benefit (such as Newsday hallucinating that people will pay $20 a month to read about pumpkin picking and car wrecks on Long Island), it’s not that much of a stretch to believe that Hulu is suffering from the same delusions of grandeur. Which is a shame, because everyone I know who uses Hulu regularly adores it.