The long-rumored premium, paid-for version of Hulu could be coming next month. The price? $9.95 per month, which some are suggesting is excessive, especially if advertising remains in place.
Worries that Hulu would become a fully paid-for service were tempered by an assurance from CEO Jason Kilar, who promised that there will always be a free option for those unwilling or uninterested in paying.
As soon as the Apple iPad was unveiled, talk of a Hulu app also emerged. It’s highly likely this will form part of the premium service, only being available to those willing to pay for the privilege of streaming video to their tablet.
Hulu’s plans to charge for the service haven’t yet been announced or confirmed, but The L.A. Times is now reporting that it’s on its way in May.
Inside sources have indicated that the service is to be called ‘Hulu Plus’, will enter testing from May 24, and cost $9.95 a month.
Users of the free service will still be able to watch the five most recent episodes of shows such as Glee, Lost, and Saturday Night Live. Subscribers, and only subscribers, will receive more than that, with full seasons possibly available.
$9.95 Too Much?
$9.95 seems a lot to ask for the service. Most analysts assumed it would be nearer $5 a month, and most surveys suggested that is the kind of price needed to entice people to sign up.
However, MediaMemo takes a hard look at the numbers, and suggests that $9.95 would probably squeeze Hulu’s bottom line once it pays fees to the network owners and “streaming costs, billing costs, [and] customer service costs are taken into account.
What could help, obviously, is Hulu apps for devices such as smartphones and the iPad. The latter is highly likely to emerge soon, although the release of the ABC Player, and its subsequent success, may hinder its chances of taking off.
I personally think $9.95 is too expensive, especially for what Hulu is offering for that subscription fee. And there’s even speculation that ‘Hulu Plus’ users would still have to put up with adverts. If this is true then Hulu is surely barking up the wrong tree.
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