Hulu Will Charge in 2010 But Will Consumers Pay?

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Current TV reports that Hulu will start charging for online videos in 2010. The news comes out of a summit in New York City this week where Chase Carey, deputy chairman of News Corp. said the company would likely offer a subscription model for online viewing starting next year. Currently the online video site provides videos of TV shows and movies for free.

This news comes the same day eMarketer released information about a new survey by The Diffusion Group on fee versus free online video. According to the results, only 4.6 percent of respondents said they would “definitely” pay for online TV service whereas 30.7 percent "definitely" would not. And, 6.7 percent would “definitely” pay for movie streaming, whereas 22.3 percent definitely would not.

The rest of the survey breaks down for paid TV viewing: 18 percent somewhat likely to pay; 23.7 percent neither likely nor unlikely; 22.9 percent somewhat unlikely. And the break down for paid movie watching is: 24.8 percent somewhat likely to pay; 26.1 neither likely nor unlikely; and 20.2 somewhat unlikely.

The juxtaposition of these two announcements on the same day is interesting. And, the trend of online viewership is growing as numbers from comScore keep hitting record numbers.

So, would you be willing to pay to watch online videos? Does your answer change for TV vs. movies?

UPDATE: Christina Lee from Hulu responded to our request for confirmation about the news from Current TV. "Hulu’s mission has always been to help people find and enjoy the world’s premium, professionally produced content. We continue to believe that the ad-supported, free service is the one that resonates most with the largest group of users and any possible new business models would serve to complement our existing offering. There are no details or timelines to share regarding our future product roadmap," says Christina Lee, Hulu.


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John AlanR 10-23-2009 3:24 PM

Unfortunately, I don't have the time or resources to give online television a try.

HealthWise 10-23-2009 3:38 PM

Hulu is great as it is. Comcast our cable provider offers most popular NBC shows in the "On Demand" section. They are asking 99cents per episode for Heroes, The Office, etc..To which I say NO THANK YOU COMCAST!  

Now if Hulu were to offer FULL & COMPLETE EPISODES of episodes of HBO & SHOWTIME shows (The Tudors, Weeds, Dexter, TRUE BLOOD, Bill Maher etc..) at a VERY AFFORDABLE Per Episode price, then I would accept the idea.

Hulu's got to remember there are a lot of other websites just like them. Secondly I'll use the old saying "WHY PAY FOR THE COW WHEN YOU CAN GET THE MILK FOR FREE!!!"

LennyM 10-23-2009 7:23 PM

The future of internet video must be pay per view. The advertising dollars are too fragmented to support any significant business. So, unless you want to be working out of your house posting videos content providers must embrace the PPV model. The big question remains.....will consumers be willing to buy content when there is so much available for free? We've seen a working model at where you'll find content that people are paying for. Their embeddable player allows consumers to single-click to purchase and view content. Now, this platform just needs more content.

MattE 10-24-2009 11:55 AM

I think it will depend on what they want to charge and what they are going to offer.  A DVR from any cable company is about $10/month.  So if they are going to offer basically the same service why not?

I use hulu a lot - and the ads they show on the web are fine, but when you stream it through other devices for some reason they show you all the PSA ads and the same ads over and over again.  So if its pay and those ads -- no way... pay and no ads -- perhaps.

Perhaps with a pay model they would keep shows on there longer as well.

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