Posted June 4, 2009 12:52 pm by with 12 comments

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image45The aliens over at Hulu don’t just want to eat your brains—they also want to take your money, according to a Daily Finance story yesterday. New CEO Jonathan Miller said:

he envisions a future where at least some of the TV shows and movies on Hulu, the premium video site co-owned by News Corp., NBC Universal and Disney, are available only to subscribers.

Miller . . . prefaced his remark by noting that he won’t attend his first Hulu board meeting until Monday, so the scenario he foresees is merely his own speculation. But, he continued, “in my opinion the answer could be yes. I don’t see why over time that shouldn’t happen. I don’t think it’s on the agenda for Monday [but] it seems to me that over time that could be a logical thing.”

So before we all go freaking out, we have to acknowledge that this could just be Miller talking crazytalk.

On the other hand, it sure looks like well-thought out crazytalk. Not-so-incidentally, Miller is in charge of finding new ways to get people to pay for News Corp.’s digital content—including Fox and the WSJ. Rupert Murdoch has been saying the WSJ will ramp up its paid wall again—but is that model going to work for video?

What do you think—will paid subscriptions be the beginning of the end of the would-be YouTube challenger? Or is this the wave of the future? (You know, kinda.)


  • It might be something that I’d pay for – nothing huge though. However, I started noticing that you can watch shows network websites – not sure if they’d go the same route, but if they didn’t, I don’t think Hulu could be too successful from it.

    It feels like everyone is wanting to charge for online content all the sudden…guess it’s only a matter of time.

  • Pay for Hulu? Nope and they will lose millions of visitors if they do.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Guess What? PR Sculpting Doesn’t Work, LOL

  • I think people may be a VERY small monthly charge for it which won’t help them a lot anyways because they could not put as much advertising up if it is a subscription but I guess that is what regular TV does and people are fine with that. Hulu would lose a lot of visitors if it did this though and many would just go to other websites to watch these videos as most of the time they pop up on Youtube anyways. Hulu has a good model now and if they found ways to monetize it slightly more that would be great for them but I am not sure if people will pay anything above lets say $9.99 a month to watch everything on it.

  • I have past, painful experience with this fact: FREE does not easily evolve to FEE online. The transition usually equals FAIL.

    Shawn Honnick’s last blog post..god is a number

  • “available only to subscribers” … or anyone with a computer. One day, and sadly, probably not any day soon, these large media companies will figure out that free ad-supported content (you know, that thing that launched radio and broadcast television, and powers the entire web) solves both your problem of revenue generation and content piracy.

    I’m sure rather than gaining a clue they will instead opt for total failure, but it sure will be fun to watch them suck wind for a while!

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..Social Media Marketing: Network Responsibly

  • For Hulu, I would not pay. Should the website change, it will lose many visitors.

    Chris Kellner’s last blog post..Brennprogramm Freeware

  • Maria Maso

    I might pay a minimal amount to view ad free content, but not if I have to watch ads too.

  • I would pay to gain access to Hulu since I’m not living in the US. Currently I have to gain access to series I want to watch through other means which probably don’t benefit the production companies.
    Access to ad free on demand tv series and movies for a fee? I would certainly pay for that. I pay for TV right now anyway.
    I would however never pay for youtube type clips.

    Andreas Nurbo’s last blog post..GWO plugin for WordPress: beta version released

  • Hey Jordan

    I have never used Hulu but I would suspect there are a few “premium” services they could add that would help the bottomline. Better quality, quicker downloads, early pre-views etc. It should be pretty easy to get $10 a month from most users in that situation. I don’t think you can get rid of the ads though. Those big pipes aren’t free.

    I can see he’s just thinking out loud. Board meeting on Monday. I suspect he’s putting a thermometer in the water.

  • I won’t be paying for Hulu. That’s just plain hullu (which as we all know, is Finnish for CRAZY )

    Ben Franklin

  • LH

    First, I love Hulu. It’s on the level of Pandora, Netflix and Tivo for my ‘fanboism’. However, I would not pay for it. I tend to watch only current TV shows to catch up when I miss a couple episodes, and have used it to find some new shows to watch (e.g., Fringe). I gave up on Hulu Movies, as the selection was quite poor and Netflix fills that niche. I don’t mind the ads on Hulu, I watch the ads, and remember the ads, which should be a good thing for Hulu and their advertisers.

    In comparison to cable tv, I don’t pay for Pay-per-view, I don’ t pay the ridiculous price for on-demand movie rental, I don’t pay for premium channels (movies and show-dvd’s I get from Netflix). I’m basically a broadband/basic cable type of person (canceled digital cable as it’s not cost-effective for me).

    I cannot really see anything Hulu could add that would entice me to pay, though I could see Disney really wanting to push a Hannah Montanna PPV event or some such. (Fortunately, I have no pre-teen girls in the household.) So I guess their challenge would be to not turn-off people like me when going after people with different entertainment needs.

  • I love hulu – but this was a foregone conclusion, no? Let’s see, On demand – limited commercials, free – how do you want to watch TV?

    I guess they could pad out with more advertising, but really – I would prefer to pay a fee and just see my shows.