Back in January, we reported Hulu was considering a pay model to view their older content. With the extremely popular site struggling to turn their huge traffic into revenue, it seemed like the 2-year-old service, which is owned by media giants News Corp., NBC Universal and the Walt Disney Co., would at least try a subscription service to see what might happen. And according to a new report in the LA Times, it’s looking like the site will launch the service at the end of May for $9.95 a month and it’ll be called Hulu Plus.
The article says Hulu would continue to provide the five most recent episodes of shows like Fox’s Glee, ABC’s Lost or NBC’s Saturday Night Live for free, but if you want to watch older episodes you’d have to sign up for the service.
More after the jump:
What the LA Times doesn’t report is if Hulu Plus will offer more content than what’s currently on the site. Meaning, if you pay 9.95 a month, will you get access to shows that haven’t been offered before? Also, if you pay for the service, does that mean you no longer have to watch commercials? I’d imagine you wouldn’t.
The big question is, are people willing to pay for TV that they wouldn’t own?
If you pay for an episode of Glee on iTunes, you can put that episode on your TV, your computer, and any portable media player (assuming you know how to convert the iTunes format). But if you buy a monthly pass on Hulu, you’d have to have a Wi-Fi connection to watch. That’s great for some people, but if I pay for something, I want the ability to watch it anywhere I want.
Saying that, if I wanted to watch a full season of a show I missed (like 24 or even something older like Greatest American Hero) and Hulu offered it to me for $9.95, I might sign up for a month.
Again, the big thing is content. If Hulu starts to offer a lot more and you can only watch the shows by paying, I think a lot of people will pay for the service.
Of course, it’s a catch 22. Networks and studios don’t want to give Hulu content without compensation, but no one wants to pay for shows they get for free. But once the ball starts to roll on this, I think this might end up being successful for everyone involved. Assuming it’s more than just what’s on TV this season.