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Hulu May Begin Charging For Content Next Year

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the we-hardly-knew-ye dept.

Television 234

DJLuc1d tips news that Chase Carey, president and COO of News Corp., has said that Hulu may begin charging for its streamed video content as early as next year. He said at a recent conference that the free-to-air model is not sustainable in the long-term. The Atlantic takes a look at several business models Hulu could employ and wonders how their current advertising system would be involved.

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time to update headline (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854147)

new headline: Hulu may begin loosing viewers next year.

Re:time to update headline (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854155)

I may begin to fuck your dead great grandmother as early as next year!

Re:time to update headline (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854205)

I may begin to get first post as early as next year!

Re:time to update headline (1)

Potor (658520) | about 5 years ago | (#29854231)

Maybe that's the plan?

I mean, really, who's going to pay for what's free on broadcast TV? And those few who live without TV (like me) have chosen to live without it, and would never pay for streams.\

Re:time to update headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854257)

I mean, really, who's going to pay for what's free on broadcast TV?\

Like, uhm, cable tv?

Re:time to update headline (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29854497)

You can get all sorts of weird stuff on cable that you will never see on OTA TV and will probably never see on Hulu.

The problem with Hulu is it's a little too much like the local NBC or Fox affiliate.

OTOH, I can watch anything on cable commercial free through the wonders of modern technology (DVR).

Re:time to update headline (3, Interesting)

node 3 (115640) | about 5 years ago | (#29854759)

You can get all sorts of weird stuff on cable that you will never see on OTA TV and will probably never see on Hulu.

The problem with Hulu is it's a little too much like the local NBC or Fox affiliate.

On the other hand, Hulu is on demand. You don't get that with broadcast TV, or even basic cable.

OTOH, I can watch anything on cable commercial free through the wonders of modern technology (DVR).

Only if you've already recorded it (unless you have some form of on demand service, and the show you want is available). Hulu, on the other hand, requires no forethought, and works just fine no matter how many shows you want to watch, even if they are broadcast at the same time.

Hulu is like DVR, without all the annoyances and complexity of managing a dedicated recording device. Also, most standalone DVRs have some form of subscription tied to them for full functionality.

Re:time to update headline (5, Insightful)

LihTox (754597) | about 5 years ago | (#29854321)

I counter your anecdote with mine: we gave up cable a year ago, but I would certainly consider paying for Hulu, so long as the price was reasonable (i.e., much less than cable or iTunes would cost for a month of television). In fact, if they offered to give me ad-free programming for something like $5/month, I might consider that as well.

And broadcast TV is useless for me anymore: I've gotten too used to watching shows when *I* have the time, not when they're scheduled to be on; and I like being able to watch from any room in the house, not just on the television. I could get TIVO, but now we're not talking "free on broadcast TV" anymore.

Re:time to update headline (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about 5 years ago | (#29854515)

but I would certainly consider paying for Hulu, so long as the price was reasonable

I watch Hulu quite a bit and I would consider it as well. Heck, I would probably pay about $1/month just so that I can forever disable certain ads that I do not like. Every time I see the Axe deodorant commercial I want to find the person who made it (approved it, came up with it, etc.) and kick them in the face for a very long time!

Re:time to update headline (4, Funny)

SpecBear (769433) | about 5 years ago | (#29854583)

Every time I see the Axe deodorant commercial I want to find the person who made it (approved it, came up with it, etc.) and kick them in the face for a very long time!

You're not nearly ambitious enough. Personally, I recommend going for the classic "double-nads-to-chesty". Difficult, yes, but the payoff is well worth it.

Re:time to update headline (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 5 years ago | (#29854541)

Solution: buy a tv card for your pc and download Mythbuntu. Problem solved.

Re:time to update headline (2, Informative)

SoonerPet (893902) | about 5 years ago | (#29854317)

Exactly, the only reason I ever watched hulu was because it was free. The minute it goes to a pay site I'll be back to torrenting everything. It's really their loss, not mine.

Re:time to update headline (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854543)

How is your decision to break the law their loss?

Creating a TV show costs money, bandwidth costs money, and servers cost money. Did you really think they'd be able to lose money forever? If they can do it, why not you? You won't even have to break the law - you can just pay for everything with your magical never ending supply of money.

Re:time to update headline (3, Insightful)

Afghanica (1661767) | about 5 years ago | (#29854573)

Um, his decision to break the law means one less subscriber for Hulu, and hes definitely not alone.
So yes, very simply, if Hulu switches to a subscriber model, they WILL lose a lot of viewers who will go back to the countless other video streaming websites, ad-free and just a bit more compressed.

Also, you dont lose money forever, you make changes until you run at a profit. You can make small changes, like increase ads, or big ones, like create subscription fees.

I'm not paying a subscription fee. (2, Interesting)

gd2shoe (747932) | about 5 years ago | (#29854689)

The problem is figuring out what people will put up with. Some people will be willing to put up with more adds or subscription fees. Some won't

Hulu, as it stands now, is reasonable (though their selection is way too small). If they ever ask for a credit card (paypal, etc), they will instantly lose a huge percentage of their clients, including me. If they increase the number or length of commercials by much, they will drive many back to their DVR and VCR (or online downloads).

They have an appealing concept working for them right now. They need to decide exactly why it is that they aren't making their original projections. I suspect they just don't have much that people want to watch. Perhaps the general public simply hasn't heard about them (an advertizing problem). Whatever the issue, you only resort to driving away your viewers when you're desperate. If they "over-correct", they will crash and burn.

Re:time to update headline (0, Offtopic)

kilodelta (843627) | about 5 years ago | (#29854383)

Yup, I'm not gonna pay for it. I'm a little surprised they couldn't make it work with the ad model. But then lots of us know how to block ads on hulu. I wouldn't have a problem with ads if they didn't run the same #(*#$*# ad six times in he space of a 40 minute block.

Re:time to update headline (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854581)

Seriously? You're surprised they weren't making money on the ads everybody is blocking?

It seems pretty fucking obvious to me, but hey what do I know?

Re:time to update headline (2, Insightful)

gd2shoe (747932) | about 5 years ago | (#29854737)

Yup, I'm not gonna pay for it.

Nor I.

I'm a little surprised they couldn't make it work with the ad model. But then lots of us know how to block ads on hulu.

It's weird that they leave it one the honor system like that. If one commercial fails to load, it really should try another one. If someone has blocked all ads, they shouldn't be able to download content.

I'm not blaming you (or others). It just baffles me that they haven't taken any steps at all to prevent this. I occasionally get the 30 second black screen with white text. All that means is that somebody's server was annoying me, and got itself blacklisted on my system. (To counter this, they really should run their own DNS server and hand out sub-domains to their advertizing partners. If I block *.ads.hulu.com, I shouldn't be allowed content.)

I wouldn't have a problem with ads if they didn't run the same #(*#$*# ad six times in he space of a 40 minute block.

I hear you. Frankly, I'm surprised that adds are tied so darn closely with the specific show you're watching. This results in seeing the same 2 or 3 adds over and over and over... ad infinitum (pun unintended). If I vote down an ad more than once, I don't want to ever see that ad again. There's no reason to do so. They have plenty of other ads I'd be willing to view instead. (They're just unwilling to show them alongside the show I'm watching right now... but they had no problem show me on the last show I saw. *sigh*)

Re:time to update headline (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | about 5 years ago | (#29854397)

I did not realize the Hulu viewers were 'bound' and therefore needed to be 'loosed' in the first place.

Re:time to update headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854621)

Thank you. Everyone was ignoring it and I was about to lose my mind. Since when can people not tell the difference between lose and loose?

Re:time to update headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854751)

I did not realize the Hulu viewers were 'bound' and therefore needed to be 'loosed' in the first place.

Of course they were. Streaming Flash video = bound. Downloading torrents = loosed.

Same here (4, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | about 5 years ago | (#29854425)

Sometimes I watch Hulu because it's convenient, if they were charging I'd drop them like a hot rock. Tivo is your friend.

Thinking they're going to come out with a charge model isn't as funny as Rupert Murdoch's threats to monetize his web properties, but it's vastly overestimating their importance in the content market.

Re:Same here (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | about 5 years ago | (#29854531)

isn't as funny as Rupert Murdoch's threats to monetize his web properties

NOTHING is that funny. He is like a 4 year old having a tantrum and honestly believing that if he keeps it up long enough he will magically get his way. Of course in this case, little Rupert is screaming until he gets a flying Unicorn to take him to Disney Land.

Rupert Murdooch, Hulu, and pretty much everyone else are vastly overestimating their importance, and more importantly, what that market is worth anyways.

The days of living on credit cards and home equity loans are so over. Credit card companies are raising rates, reducing available credit, and the associated banks are tightening up on lending like never before. Equity in a 2+ year old home purchase is probably as rare as a Unicorn now too.

So just where does Rupert Murdoch, Hulu, and the rest of people expect their customers to get the damned money in the first place? I would be hard pressed to believe the average American family has more than $100 dollars to spend on entertainment anymore before tapping a credit line and making their situation worse, which won't last that much longer.

They are fighting for a piece of pie that is getting much, much, much smaller by the day. I think as far as regular people are concerned they already paid for Hulu when they paid for their Internet connection. Personally, I know quite a few people that have cut as much as possible off their bills by removing digital boxes, getting on cheaper plans with less channels, and sometimes outright eliminating cable and relying entirely on torrents (the ethical arguments be damned).

Hulu wants to charge for service? They better be offering some really freakin' attractive offerings to get people to pay them since more than ever, money ain't growing on trees, and it could require people to choose between regular Cable/Satellite service and Hulu.

On that note Hulu has some pretty apparent pros and cons to me:

Pros - Less aggravating commercial interruptions. No absolutely retarded animated overlays (SyFy channel blow me). A fairly easy to use interface.

Cons - Waiting times to get content, and disappearing content.

Hulu makes it easier to watch on a regular TV, solve those Cons, and they could be a real threat to other people in that market.

Re:time to update headline (3, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | about 5 years ago | (#29854715)

"new headline: Hulu may begin loosing viewers next year."

Subhead: "General public learns how to use bittorrent--traffic to EZTV.it and Mininova surge!"

I am a heavy bittorrent user. I honestly tried to like Hulu when it came out, but the ads were just too long for me. So now I just "timeshift" my shows via bittorrent exclusively. HD rips + no commercials + no buffering + ability to easily archive + hookup to my flatscreen TV = not touching anything else with a 10ft pole.

Re:time to update headline (2, Interesting)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | about 5 years ago | (#29854763)

I have loved Hulu, but I will do one or the other: I will pay a subscription fee or I will watch advertisements during my programming - I will not do both, which is one of the reasons I don't have cable service. I'm okay with Hulu charging a subscription if the content is ad-free. But I'm not willing to pay twice for the same content.

Welcome back to Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854151)

Yarrr, we missed ye while ye watched thar streamin videos...

Join me down at thepirateba-oh wait..

aw..

Re:Welcome back to Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854215)

Join me down at thepirateba-oh wait..

I believe you mean mininova.

Re:Welcome back to Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854319)

Don't you mean demonoid?

Re:Welcome back to Piracy (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#29854435)

isohunt has them all.

Re:Welcome back to Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854441)

Yeah... because THAT hasn't been dead for weeks now or anything... I've gotten used to torrentz.com *Shrug*

Re:Welcome back to Piracy (1)

herojig (1625143) | about 5 years ago | (#29854565)

Don't you mean demonoid?

No, that ones gone too (for the moment? been 1 month now). yar.

Re:Welcome back to Piracy (2, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 5 years ago | (#29854469)

Mininova doesn't have its own tracker... i.e. anything you get from Mininova actually comes from somewhere else, most often TPB.

Re:Welcome back to Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854693)

Mininova doesn't have its own tracker... i.e. anything you get from Mininova actually comes from somewhere else, most often TPB.

Yes, this is precisely why it is a great place to find torrents. They've minimized their legal liability and have a far lower chance of being taken down because of this.

my vote goes to (1)

stillpixel (1575443) | about 5 years ago | (#29854153)

extending the unstoppable commercials to 60 seconds, gives me more time to run and get a drink/food or go take a quick leak. But I won't be paying for any content that I currently get from Hulu for "free".

Re:my vote goes to (2, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | about 5 years ago | (#29854221)

Let me ask you, do you currently subscribe to a TV service (cable | satellite) or would you in the absence of hulu? Personally, I used to have cable until I started watching hulu for free. The packages for the former were kinda silly, where one had to pay >90$ for ~100 channels they didn't want or 10$ for a stripped down service. If hulu did start charging, I could see a small subscription fee for unlimited access or commercials with limited access (most recent shows only?) as reasonable. However, they are going to have a hell of a time in moving to a pay model. Many of their more popular shows can be obtained on itunes for a nominal fee or are already available on a given show's website or parent network site: ABC, Comedey Central, CBS, Fox, etc (albeit with crappier flash players and bandwidth). I would like to see hulu make it as a viable, self-sustaining service, if for nothing other than to give current cable providers some competition. I just think they're going to have a hard time at it.

Re:my vote goes to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854587)

I also have found no need for Cable TV. I have found that DVD season boxed sets are great. You get an entire season without commercials and usually extras like commentary and featurettes. You can watch them whenever you want and in order. I also use Handbrake to convert my DVDs (which I own) into m4vs that I can watch without the discs on my computer or other devices if I want. I can get a boxed set or two for the price of a month of cable and with as much TV as I watch, a decent sized set should last me a month of normal viewing. The only downside (for me at least) is that I have to wait for the season to have ended before I can watch it. This isn't a problem with having to wait as much as everyone talking about "last night's episode".

Hulu or cable is great for the "throwaway shows". The shows that you really only watch once. These are usually topical shows like The Daily Show or the Documentary shows like Mythbusters, or anything on the History Channel. It is also good for trying out new shows to see if they are worth watching. The biggest problem is that bittorrent is easier to use and cheaper. Couple torrents with an RSS feed and you have a DVR that grabs shows without commercials and costs nothing.

No more free TV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854159)

There went 90% of their users.

dead dog (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854161)

And their user base drops to 3 men and a dead dog.

Re:dead dog (2, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | about 5 years ago | (#29854361)

Hey now, the Napster model worked just fine... right? Right?
 
....

Maybe it would work.. (1)

cybrthng (22291) | about 5 years ago | (#29854165)

If they got off their asses and let hulu work on your tv.. the fact its limited to computer or media center hacks keeps people from enjoying it enough to replace OTA or cable strongholds.

yes.. i know it can be done, but they don't make it easy.

Re:Maybe it would work.. (4, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 5 years ago | (#29854227)

What media center hacks? I use it on my HTPC. It works as well as any other media player/center. Just download the Hulu Desktop [hulu.com] app (OS X/Windows/Linux) Just launch it and go. I wonder if those folks realize exactly how easy it is to watch this stuff on a TV? I would actually consider canceling cable if they had just a bit more content that was good.

They should ditch the youtube 'clips' and stick to full TV shows and movies. They could also jettison a lot of IMO, useless content. Get some good deals with content providers with exclusive 15, 30, and 60 second commercials if you need to.

It's a good service, but it does need more polish.

Fullscreen overlays? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 5 years ago | (#29854523)

Can Hulu desktop do fullscreen video overlays? Basically, can I still do stuff on my computers and watch videos on my TV fullscreen?

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854175)

So Chase Cary has come to the same conclusion all the failed dot com companies figured out 10 years ago... Not that surprising, all he had to do was look back @ companies like Netzero, FreePC, WinFire, etc...

Of course, this could just be a cop-out...

Re:Wow (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | about 5 years ago | (#29854473)

And 60 years down the line, finally, we have Mr. Carey to articulate the fundamental flaw and folly of the broadcast television model.

Depends on what they mean by charging... (5, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | about 5 years ago | (#29854177)

According to this media journalist (http://gizmodo.com/5388745/how-a-paid-hulu-would-work):

"Hulu, the joint venture between News Corp.'s Fox, GE's NBC Universal and Disney's ABC, doesn't plan on charging people to watch the stuff it's currently airing on the site-a mix of first-run shows from broadcast TV, a limited number of cable TV shows and a smattering of movies. But Hulu is trying to figure out how to create some kind of premium offering where you'll pay for stuff that isn't on the site right now."

If true, I think that is completely OK. A mix of free ad-supported content with premium high-quality content people are willing to pay for. Not sure how that would work currently, but HBO has proven people are happy to pay for *quality* programming.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (3, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 5 years ago | (#29854211)

A mix of free ad-supported content with premium high-quality content people are willing to pay for.

And what will you do if you end up with a mix of ad-supported premium content for which you have to pay? Look at cable television now, you pay a monthly fee for the privilege of watching ad-supported television, if you want fewer ads, you have to pay more for those stations which are not included in the basic cable. News Corp. will go after the same model if they can.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (5, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 years ago | (#29854265)

If true, I think that is completely OK. A mix of free ad-supported content with premium high-quality content people are willing to pay for. Not sure how that would work currently, but HBO has proven people are happy to pay for *quality* programming.

Remember when buying cable meant you didn't have to watch ads? When that was one of the big selling points of buying cable in the first place? I do.

And somehow, 20 years later, cable TV comes with oodles and oodles of ads. Literally, ads on top of ads. (you know, when they take 2 inches off the bottom of the screen to put an ad, and it happens while other ads are playing?)

Now Hulu comes along. it's got decent shows, a decent experience, and doesn't crush your consciousness with ads on top of ads, and it's FREE. Any surprise it's popular?

Give it a few years. Then you'll be PAYING for access to shows riddled with ads on top of ads, if history is any lesson.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854351)

Yo Dawg, I heard you like ads...oh, forget it.

Not true. (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | about 5 years ago | (#29854377)

Not true, almost all around

First of all, I don't remember ever "no ads" being the selling point of cable. When I first saw cable back around 1979, it was because the transmission towers were so far away from our rural neighborhood in a valley that we couldn't get a signal with an antenna. Literally nothing. "Cable" to us meant that we got to pay for what everyone else was watching: broadcast television.

Second of all, when they did start adding a few paltry non-broadcast stations to cable television, I remember ads from the outset. Oh, sure, you had the "premium" stations like HBO that had no ads, but guess what--they were really expensive, and we didn't get those channels, and we watched ads. Fewer than today, granted, but that was true even of broadcast television and is a trend across the board.

Third of all, I don't see us ever going back to the way things were, with big content providers having an absolute lock on when, where, and how you watch big content. Too many genies are out of too many bottles for that to happen. The providers now have two excruciatingly difficult competitors to face: media pirates and entertainment alternatives.

Yes, as much as we like to pretend that media pirates don't have that big an impact on the industry, they really, really do. Fortunately, in many ways, it's positive. I mean, think about it, do you really think that a service like Hulu would exist today if big media didn't have to contend with people downloading their stuff for free? Their value added is no longer the fact that they have complete control over the pipeline. It's all about ease of use and legitimacy. If they stop providing that value added service, then people will still simply stop using their service.

Added to this pressure is the fact that the times they are a-changin'. Back when I was little, we didn't have the Internet. We really didn't have many good video games. (I grew up in the Atari 2600 age.) The television was THE home entertainment medium. At night, it was either watch television or sit around talking to your parents. (Fun.)

But now with all of our instant communication technology, the Internet as our kids' playground, and gaming systems that are more hi-tech than the most expensive supercomputers I grew up on, television has a fraction of the relevance that it once did. Look around, man. Between cell phones, the Internet, their World of Warcraft accounts, and their Xboxes, a lot of kids don't even watch television!

Do you really think that people will be paying for access to shows riddled with ads on top of ads? I don't. I think that they'll just find something more interesting to do, some alternative that we didn't grow up with, thus the reason we were so willing to put up with that crap. Big media will either adjust, with services like Hulu, or die. And they know that, so please, finger off the panic button.

Re:Not true. (1)

bit01 (644603) | about 5 years ago | (#29854669)

And they know that, so please, finger off the panic button.

You are way overoptimistic. What will happen in every new media is what has already happened to pretty much every old media ever made, whether it be TV, DVD's, internet, cinema, magazines or blank walls - over time ad-load will increase until the net benefit to the consumer is just marginally above zero, thus maximizing profit while keeping the bum on the seat but giving the consumer almost nothing. Piracy may help a little but will be largely controlled in the mass market by DRM and law.

Marketing parasites attempt to saturate every single medium (they're always looking for "untainted" media to improve their "effectiveness" e.g. mobile phones and computer games are currently being poisoned) so that there is no alternative for the consumer other than to become a hermit. Total market failure. There should be a law.

---

The majority of modern marketing is nothing more than an arms race to get mind share. Everybody loses except the parasitic marketing "industry".

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (2, Insightful)

orlanz (882574) | about 5 years ago | (#29854501)

I remember those times. It wasn't ad free, but premium cables' benefit was almost no ads. Today, the actual "content" seems to have been reduced quite a bit. The time wasted is up, with the value add down, is it any wonder that the consumer is looking at alternatives. We used to call milking the crowd in running the "A-Team" in the afternoon and a rerun late night but today, that term doesn't do any justice.

1) The obvious is the reruns. God, there are so many; nuff said on that.

2) These days, most ads seem to be about OTHER shows on the same channel. Do people really need to be told 3-4 times over that "A new Grey's Anatomy is coming up next"? I am sure that viewership not only knows that, but already figured out how to set up the DVR/Tivo, and whom/where to write death-threats to in case of a rumored canceling.

3) Why do many shows do a recap of the previous show for more than a minute? People who missed the show probably won't get much from a recap and people who didn't, don't need it!!

4) Why do many shows do a "preview" before the start of the show and before every commercial break? And then a small introduction after the ads? Finally a "Next week on ..." at ending the show? Skip all this crap and put up the credits longer or something or maybe even more ads!

5) Most channels are just copy cats. Some idiot gets a retarded idea (survivor, real life, ...) and because the brain dead public [we think] eats it up (as there is nothing else to watch), ever bloody network copies it with their own version. NO one wants to take a risk with new ideas, cause they are too scared! The public is made even dumber by being bombarded by the same drivel on all 100 channels.

6) Have the seasons gotten shorter? And I am not talking about just the writers strike. There seem to be so few episodes aired for so many shows. Actors seem to take longer vacations than teachers! Hell, many of them don't even have paid actors!

All in all, there just seems to be so much "wasted" air time through out the day that you would think that the providers would either use it to increase the value-add content or put up more ads. TV used to be like steak, apple pie, and sushi; now its just gravy with artificial flavoring. Our society has gone from offering the next greatest new thing to limiting what's on the shelf so that people are forced to settle for something as its better than nothing.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about 5 years ago | (#29854503)

Remember when buying cable meant you didn't have to watch ads? When that was one of the big selling points of buying cable in the first place? I do.

Rock on! I remember the good old days. I learned my lesson with cable too.

If I pay for media nowdays, I expect it not to have any commercials. If you let them open the advertising door, it starts with a few dollars a month and a few ads... and a few years later you have 30% ads and "taxes" and "taxes" on top of that few dollars a month, which increased due to energy costs and other BS.

Hulu has it's problems, but I use it because dealing with them is worth the effort. But I would not whip out my credit card for the current performance I get from Hulu, even if the cost per show was $1. If they want to charge, the ads better disappear and the video quality better go up... and I doubt they will be making money then.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854589)

What country are you in that only got cable 20 years ago, and introduced it without ads? It's been about 30 years since cable was introduced in southern Ontario, and it carried regular ad-supported stations. The difference was you got more channels, and all at full strength.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (2, Informative)

pegasustonans (589396) | about 5 years ago | (#29854297)

HBO has proven people are happy to pay for *quality* programming.

What you say is totally correct, with the one minor detail that I would change *quality* to *softcore porn*.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (1)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#29854495)

People buy Cinemax for softcore porn. HBO's porn is all lame and they don't show enough of it. As far as I can tell, people watch HBO for bad movies repeated 800 times a month and boxing matches.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 5 years ago | (#29854553)

You're confusing HBO with Cinemax.

Although, some scenes in True Blood are softcore porn.....

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (4, Insightful)

MLS100 (1073958) | about 5 years ago | (#29854617)

HBO has a record for stellar dramatic series and quality documentaries. Though they have really failed to produce in this department of late with crap like Tell Me You Love Me and In Treatment. They are lucky Curb went for another season or their new lineup would have been beyond pitiful.

Still, they have shows with amazing production value that blow the socks off of the total garbage network shows. Surely they have a couple viewers that watch these shows they blow millions on each year.

People haven't been subscribing to HBO for the softcore porn for quite a while. It may have been sort of true a decade or so ago, but we have the internet now, and that serves even the most demanding porn enthusiast.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (1)

chaoticgeek (874438) | about 5 years ago | (#29854349)

See I look at it like this. I can watch on hulu after some time currently. Fox series are like 8 days after the air date, ABC, NBC, and SYFY are like the next day. If they are willing to cut the commercials down by half 4 total commercials becomes 2 total over a 42 minute episode. At the current lengths they have, 30 second ads stay as 30 second ads, 15s stay as 15s, ect. Also have the episodes up within an hour or two the air date on TV then I'd be willing to pay like 5-10/month. But I doubt that will happen so I'm just going to have to torrent them I guess.

Re:Depends on what they mean by charging... (1)

enjo13 (444114) | about 5 years ago | (#29854359)

I will absolutely not pay unless I can freely stream my Hulu content to my TV.

netflix (1)

pyster (670298) | about 5 years ago | (#29854179)

And I wouldnt just subscribe to netflix because? I dont even use the free hulu.

Re:netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854407)

Because with Netflix you have to wait for stuff to get to DVD, while with Hulu you have to wait at most a week or so to get it. Unless it's something like the Daily Show or Colbert Report, which I don't believe is on DVD, if which case you're SOL.

If you're patient, and are only interested in network TV, I guess Netflix would work.

Don't care (1)

soundguy (415780) | about 5 years ago | (#29854181)

Couldn't give less of a rat's ass. New 1-terabyte Tivo & Fios here.

Re:Don't care (0)

Itninja (937614) | about 5 years ago | (#29854417)

How is that relevant? A TiVo does not give you access to any measurable amount of 'free' video content. You can't even open a web browser on an OOTB TiVo. Hell, a Wii has more access to free online content.

Re:Don't care (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29854533)

Neither does Hulu.

It's all "add supported". The Hulu player interface is remarkably crude when compared to a Tivo or any other DVR.

A lot of what's on Hulu is on OTA TV anyways. So with a nice strong digital signal, you don't have to pay any recurring fees anyways.

Ads or Subs, not both (2, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 5 years ago | (#29854183)

I wouldn't mind paying for the two to three shows per week I watch on hulu.com, but then if I have to pay I don't want to sit through ads. Wonder how they'll work that out?

Won't work (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 5 years ago | (#29854293)

I agree with you 100%. It won't work. Millions of people already pay for content AND watch ads every day. Cable TV. People are dumb. They'll continue to pay to watch ads.

hey, geniuses (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 5 years ago | (#29854203)

if it is composed as bits, and it is consumed as bits (books, music, movies/ tv), consumers will pay nothing or very little for it

this is the future, deal with it

and no dear content panic brigade: plenty of books, music, movies/ tv will still be made. high quality and at high cost. as if free internet content is a threat to content creation: it isn't, its free adertising for the creators. music is consumed at concerts, movies in cinemas, and books in beds/ trains. and this makes cash as well as a whole huge range on ancillary streams: endorsements, toylines, speeches, movie script treatments, spokesperson, etc...

what kind anarchist communist thinking is this?

gee, i dunno. its called the business model that saw the rise of radio, and sustained television for free over the airways for decades: ADVERTISING. you give your content away FOR FREE, and your content is supported by ANCILLARY STREAMS OF REVENUE. you don't put moronic tollbooths that are broken anyways on top of access to your content. no one is going to pay it, you'll just make a lot less money than if you provided free access and depended on ancillary streams

do you think the business model of radio and television in the 1950s is some antiamuricun socialism? no? then why are your panties in a twist over free digital content?

but go ahead hulu, reduce your viewership by a thousandth or a millionth. you're geniuses, really, we can bring the business model of vinyl and cassette tapes to the internet. yeah, go for it

fucking morons

That is so not true, people will pay (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 years ago | (#29854341)

if it is composed as bits, and it is consumed as bits (books, music, movies/ tv), consumers will pay nothing or very little for it

If that were true, iTunes would be an utter failure. But it's booming, selling a lot of music but also a lot of video content.

If you look the prices are actually pretty high ($1.99 for SD, $2.99 for HD television shows). But people buy it - because of convenience and quality.

I've tried Hulu a few times but honestly I can't even tolerate the minimal advertising they have, and either tape shows off the air or buy some from iTunes for stations I cannot get. The only time I turn to the universal "free" option is when a publisher is so dense as to not offer something on iTunes.

Yes there will always be people who choose the free option, but if you give consumers a chance to pay for convenience a lot will.

That said I don't think paid Hulu will do well at all. It's pretty damn inconvenient to watch streaming video already (with or without commercials), since you can't (without technical know-how) shift it to portable devices at all, and if you want to re-watch something it may just be gone. At least when they yank content from iTunes you as a consumer can keep on using what you bought, which is probably as close to replication of physical media rules as we are likely to get.

Re:That is so not true, people will pay (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#29854437)

I've tried Hulu a few times but honestly I can't even tolerate the minimal advertising they have, and either tape shows off the air or buy some from iTunes for stations I cannot get.

I've also tried Hulu as well, and I buy from iTunes for a very different reason - my connection is fast enough to download a movie in a reasonable amount of time, but not to stream it. It also tends to drop out for a few seconds about twice and hour. That's aggravating as hell on streaming video and gaming, but downloads just resume and keep going - it doesn't matter. Even on a better connection if you do too many other things with it you'll end up rebuffering a stream.

In that regard I'd FAR rather buy a file that I can download and then watch than mess with the shakeyness that is streaming.

Re:That is so not true, people will pay (3, Insightful)

drspliff (652992) | about 5 years ago | (#29854483)

The free option, available only to USA residents.

Yes, I'd love to watch some of the stuff available on Hulu, but no... due to "Copyright" it's not available in my country.

Wait... what? There is no technical limitation, there's no financial limitation, there's no business limitation... unless the company behind Hulu is extremely dense or has absolutely no clue about marketing.

Or do you want to get into the fact that shows on Sky and Virgin media or other satellite/cable providers in the UK & Europe are shown as little as 3 months after, is this all about a gentlemans agreement to keep a monopoly profitable when it should've died years ago?

When marketing & politics get involved, especially in issues like this, expect the fucking worst.

By the time Hulu gets around to allowing Europeans to view stuff we'll have to not only pay a fee, but also sit through 5-10% in duration of advertising for local Cable/Satellite companies which offer a worse service.

Anyway, I have to go change the proxy settings in Firefox so I can watch some stuff on Hulu, brb.

Re:That is so not true, people will pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854527)

Anyway, I have to go change the proxy settings in Firefox so I can watch some stuff on Hulu, brb.

If you know of any good proxies, please post them. I have the same problem.

It's been 1 hour, 2 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment...

Once again, FUCK YOU, Slashdot!!! Guess I need a proxy for you also, huh? Bastards!

Re:That is so not true, people will pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854535)

Rent a VPS in the US (eg, Linode) and set up OpenVPN. Not exactly cost-effective if that's the only reason you need a VPS, but it's a nice fringe benefit if you have one anyway. If you're cheap, just set up Tor to use exit nodes in the US only and hope for the best.

Re:That is so not true, people will pay (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 5 years ago | (#29854641)

Torrents my dear friend, torrents.

I fully understand people saying that it's wrong to download music or movies - but downloading a tv show is no different than your friend recording it on VHS and then giving the tape to you. Especially since most shows (yea, I'm not talking HBO, I'm talking ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox) are free to view to begin with.

I guess the current business model... (3, Insightful)

trudyscousin (258684) | about 5 years ago | (#29854213)

...just wasn't profitable enough.

That's a shame, because my fiancée and I have really enjoyed Hulu, as it's allowed us to watch our favorite shows (those that Hulu carries, anyway) on our own schedules, and with short commercial breaks, and no banner ads across the lower quarter or third of the screen. It's proven to be kind of an ideal version of television. (We've never had on-demand or DVR, just expanded basic cable, so take that with as many grains of salt as you wish.)

Speaking for myself, the continual, intrusive advertising that plagues television today has done much to drive me away from it, but Hulu has succeeded in bringing me back. I really don't mind that much when the ads are at most a minute long (sometimes as short as 10-15 seconds), and only one at a time.

Meanwhile, we're taking a wait-and-see approach to what happens next. There's no telling what Hulu will charge, but if it's reasonable (define that how you will) and serves to, say, buy CBS's participation, it could still be a worthy thing.

whats wrong with ad supported tv?! (1)

timmarhy (659436) | about 5 years ago | (#29854225)

OTA tv has been supported by ads for the last 50 years, why is it that media companys suddenly think this model doesn't work? people skipping ads isn't any worse then them ignoring them, hell i've been muting the fucking things for years. maybe try targeting their ads and making them less annoying (and not turning up the volume) and people might feel the need to skip them.

They Need to Improve Service First (1)

kgholloway (1013997) | about 5 years ago | (#29854241)

I am not satisfied that the Hulu streaming service is of acceptable quality to sustain a "pay-for-view" model. I only use their service if I absolutely have to. I am already a paid subscriber to three other online streaming services. All of these services give their users a better quality experience. And I'm speaking about things like rock solid streaming, 480p and 720p steams, better "full screen" response, and easier navigation around their sites. Until Hulu gets their act together my money will stay in my pocket.

Re:They Need to Improve Service First (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 5 years ago | (#29854665)

Which streaming services do you use? I'm interesting in finding some more to use aside from netflix.

It's Hit the STREETS So Suck it Up and Enjoy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854247)

Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music

Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music

Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music

Slippin' away, sittin' on a pillow
Waitin' for night to fall
A girl and a dream, sittin' on a pillow
This is the night to go to the celebrity ball

Satin and lace, isn't it a pity
Didn't find time to call
Ready or not, gonna make it to the city
This is the night to go to the celebrity ball

Dress up tonight, why be lonely?
You'll stay at home and you'll be alone
So why be lonely?
Sittin' alone, sittin' on a pillow
Waitin' to climb the walls
Maybe tonight, depending how your dream goes
She'll open her eyes when she goes to the celebrity ball

Dress up tonight, why be lonely?
You'll stay at home and you'll be alone
So why be lonely?
Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music

Fast-forward to 2011 (5, Funny)

whterbt (211035) | about 5 years ago | (#29854267)

A preview of what hulu.com will look like in 2011:

hulu.com

This domain is for sale! Click here to register! [godaddy.com]

Quality is an issue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854303)

The heavily compressed low res streams are okay for free/limited commercial but if they expect to charge for similar quality content even if it's current movies uncut I think I'll pass. Now if they offer things I can't get anywhere else especially older shows and movies that aren't available then I'd consider it for a reasonable cost. Don't offer what everyone else is just lower quality think outside the box and offer what isn't available. Fans love rare and hard to find but offering yet another way to get movies only a paid service then you are selling apples in an apple orchard. If they can provide premium cable shows rebroadcast for a reasonable rate uncut they might have something. The better ones are available in box sets but there are older ones that aren't available. Everyone is fighting for the same mainstream market so it's over served already. Better to break new ground.

This is good (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 5 years ago | (#29854309)

We shouldn't be patronizing people like these who won't let their signal out of the country anyway. Let's use the internet to tear down the borders, not reenforce them.

Ads should be enough (1)

sunfly (1248694) | about 5 years ago | (#29854337)

We canceled our cable a couple years ago, and have lived quiet happily with HULU, a $9 Netflix subscription, and a $50 Craigslist post lease PC attached to our HDTV.

Hulu has always been very generous (IMO) with the number of ads in their content. I always assumed at some point they would take that up to the same level as network TV. Keep in mind networks have existed happily for many years broadcasting free with only the ad revenue.

If and when HULU goes pay (depending on content and terms) our household will most likely simply stop watching HULU.

The only possibility (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | about 5 years ago | (#29854347)

the free-to-air model is not sustainable in the long-term.

... and the pay-to-view model is not sustainable period.

The only model that has a narrow chance is if they charge something like 5 dollars per year, but also get rid of their randomly disappearing and reappearing content. No one will complain while its free, but when I start watching a series from season 1, I expect season 5 to still be there when I get there. I'm just sayin'.

Depends on your definition of Free. (2, Insightful)

rezonat0r (409674) | about 5 years ago | (#29854367)

Sorry Hulu, but calling it the "free-to-air" model is dubious at best. Any time we are receiving advertising over websites/TV/radio/Hulu, we are a product being delivered to advertisers.

Hulu, you run plenty of ads. The idea that you are not making any money, or that your service is free in any sense beyond the most narrow interpretation, is absurd.

non euphemistic translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854371)

'Holy shit, we're fucking screwed' say Hulu execs

Dateline Saturday October 24, @12:02AM

Chase Carey, the soon to be replaced president and COO of News Corp, has said that Hulu is a fucking disaster of epic proportions. He said at a recent conference that they aren't making any fucking money, and their numbers were all fucked up in the first place, thanks to their business model being based on the syphillitic ramblings of an LSD tripper.

The Atlantic pretends to be all sensitive and shit, acting like there is any possible way Hulu can drag it's ass out of the fire before it's burnt to a flaky blackened crisp. It also wonders what the fuck they spent all that money implementing an advertising subsystem for if it wasn't going to bring in any fucking income, for chrissakes they show you a commercial every 5 goddamn minutes on the thing, you'd think somebody would want to pay for that shit.

Calls from shareholders to reduce executive bonuses were responded to by Carey as 'fucking communist', and followed by a quick, short, sharp shock to the back of the head.

I'd consider it. (2)

BOFslime (178524) | about 5 years ago | (#29854379)

Cable and Sat have gotten out of control, I don't watch enough tv to necessitate 1000+ channels while paying $50-$75/mo for it.
I canceled my cable a few months ago and have been souly utilizing Netflix for my viewing needs via my xbox360. If hulu starts offering direct streaming services and in HD, via xbox, ps3 and/or web for all of its television content like netflix does for movies I would be willing to pay $5-$10-$15/mo for it and wouldn't mind some ad support. Unchanged though, I wouldn't consider paying for it.

I'd pay for Hulu... (4, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 5 years ago | (#29854405)

I'd pay for Hulu if it was a very reasonable price with a very good selection of stuff, with no or very few advertisements. If it has a good selection there's STILL no reason to buy cable when you can watch what and when you want to watch. In my opinion, Cable Television as we know it isn't going to be sustainable in the long term, either, because people are increasingly DVRing and downloading and stuff nowadays anyway and the old advertisement scheme just isn't as viable as it once was. Cable emerged and appeared the way it did because the internet was not really fully realized the way it is now and certainly not with today's bandwidth. The old cable network model is slowly on the way out. Hulu at cost, a decent cost, will be a bargain over the old cable networks still because I can watch any (available) episode of, say, Babylon 5 when I want, where I want, without having to wait for network showings.

Re:I'd pay for Hulu... (1)

Saysys (976276) | about 5 years ago | (#29854677)

That is essentially it, as long as the value proposition (works like a DVR, commercials don't run longer than skipping through commercials on a DVR take, the price is the cost of internet access instead of internet + TV) then migration will happen;

Let say a reasonable HTPC w/ 1080p display costs $1500 and cable with a DVR costs $60 a month, hulu pays for your HTPC w/ new HDTV in about 2 years; Add to that a $5 a month fee for what used to be $15 a month HBO and hulu charging for premium content: Hulu w/ service, after the second year, saves the consumer ~ $850 a year

Per-Show bundles are a good idea! (3, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about 5 years ago | (#29854429)

I almost want them to sell show-based subscriptions. Or allow me to donate money to the show balance. I am worried that the fact that I religiously watch a few particular shows is not counted in the rating of the show and that might lead it to die. Perhaps if people could pay for subscriptions, we could have saved Firefly before it got canceled!

Of course I would probably want a view without ads if I am going to pay money for a subscription...

Oh noes. (1)

Spewns (1599743) | about 5 years ago | (#29854445)

Now I have to continue not visiting Hulu! There's nothing on there you can't find ad-free elsewhere. If this were about YouTube, it might be newsworthy, but I'm not exactly shocked that a site ran by the likes of NBC/General Electric, ABC/Disney, and Murdoch are going to attempt to gouge as much money as they can from people.

Free-to-air isn't sustainable? (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | about 5 years ago | (#29854467)

Someone should probably let broadcasters know about this.

Double dipping (1)

navtal (943711) | about 5 years ago | (#29854557)

Hulu will now get payed from both advertisers and you.

You know you're tired... (1)

mattwrock (1630159) | about 5 years ago | (#29854559)

when you read that Chevy Chase is COO of Fox News!

Let me get this straight... (3, Insightful)

mikep554 (787194) | about 5 years ago | (#29854563)

Broadcast networks have existed for more than fifty years on a model that had massive overhead but was free to any user within range of the signal. Now, there is a way they can provide their same product via the internet with massively lower overhead, but they can't figure out how to make money like they used to? Or even make money at all? Did these guys all go to the school with an MBA program that taught them to find a stable company that looks like it would run on autopilot, and just cash the checks as long as the good times last?

Could this mean that you could watch outside USA? (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 5 years ago | (#29854595)

Perhaps with the change of model it means that people outside the USA could use Hulu? If the subscription is cheap enough they could make a lot of money from non-US viewers. I might be totally mis-understanding the whole reason we cannot legally watch Hulu though.

Why? (1)

chucklebutte (921447) | about 5 years ago | (#29854625)

Fuck. Now back to pirating my TV shows.

Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29854673)

So... it's not making money? Wait, it is. Oh, its not making "enough" money! Damn you capitalism and your tendency to drive down the cost of things for consumers over time. What we need here is an entirely new model of economics. One where a group of elite few control everything and have all the money and power, and the rest are ordered around on penalty of imprisonment and death. If only there was a word for how such a thing would work.

I'll glady pay (a reasonable price) (1)

HighOrbit (631451) | about 5 years ago | (#29854777)

What I and my family watch on Hulu is not available on cable or broadcast. We watch some really old cartoons with my kids like "Speed Racer","He-Man", and "She-Ra". Its a chance for me and my wife to share with our kids some of the things that we used to enjoy when we were growning up. I don't have a problem paying (a reasonable price) for content that is not available elsewhere. If my cable company had that kind of video libarary available on demand, I would pay them instead, but they don't. If you have an Xbox360 or media extender (with the PlayOn and vmcPlayIt plug-ins), you can watch Hulu (and netflix instant view) on your TV, not just the computer. Its better than cable, because its on demand and has a fairly large library. I want them to be profitable, because it will a) keep them around for me to enjoy b) encourge them to expand their library further. I'll gladly pay for that.

huh, (1)

user4574 (1645049) | about 5 years ago | (#29854779)

I wonder if the NBC, ABC, CBS, SyFy, WB, etc. websites are going to jump to a subscription model too. That's where Hulu gets the vast majority of its TV content, including its classic shows. Hulu even adds and removes their content on the same schedules. So far as I can tell, the only real service Hulu provides seems to be the convenience of having all of that in one place. I can put up with the ads for that convenience, but I don't think I'd care to pay for it, especially if they keep the ads.

Also, considering all the many articles I've read over the past year proclaiming the epic scale of Hulu's viewership, and how an episode of The Simpsons is now worth considerably more advertising dollars on Hulu than it is on Fox, I have a hard time seeing how advertiser-supported content (AKA the tried and tested model of the last sixty years) is suddenly no longer viable. Considering the scale of their audience, and the fact that they're not too far from the only game in town for centralization of that type of content, Hulu should be able to push its ad revenues up to a "sustainable rate" pretty easily without dinging its viewers. But then, I guess this is News Corp. we're talking about...
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