Hulu to test $9.95 per month ‘Hulu Plus’ subscription service, say sources

Apple Online Store“Hulu, the popular online site for watching television shows, plans to begin testing a subscription service as soon as May 24, according to people with knowledge of the plans,” Dawn C. Chmielewski and Meg James report for The Los Angeles Times.

“Under the proposal, Hulu would continue to provide for free the five most recent episodes of shows like Fox’s ‘Glee,’ ABC’s ‘Lost’ or NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live,'” Chmielewski and James report. “But viewers who want to see additional episodes would pay $9.95 a month to access a more comprehensive selection, called Hulu Plus, these people said.”

Chmielewski and James report, “Hulu is under pressure from its owners to collect a subscription fee to both bolster revenue and train viewers to pay for online access to professionally produced content… Shows on Hulu also carry commercials, however there are fewer spots there than on regular television. Ultimately, Hulu is expected to adopt the same commercial loads as network television.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: How about some sort of “Super Hulu” plan that lets subscribers forgo the commercials altogether? Or would the price be too much? That’s one (more) thing we love about Apple TV: When you buy a TV show, it’s commercial free.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Phil O.” for the heads up.]


  1. $10 per month plus you get to watch commercials. Wow. Sign me up.

    I wonder if these media guys ever pull their heads of their asses to look around to see what people really want.

  2. Honestly? I’d rather pay $30 for a commercial free subscription to iTunes that I can watch on AppleTV or on my iPhone or iPad or wherever than pay $10 and only get it on my computer streamed. And since they’re still offering the five most recent episodes (which, I watch most TV episodes within a week of their airing anyway) what’s the point?

  3. Another fun angle to this story: Hulu fears ABC iPad app could hurt its $9.95 subscription plans

    Some juicy quotes:

    Citing industry sources, Kafka said that Hulu CEO Jason Kilar “tried desperately to get ABC not to introduce its free app,” because ABC giving away free content makes subscription-based access to Hulu on the iPad seem less valuable. ABC obviously did not place much weight behind Kilar’s concerns, as the network’s streaming application was available on the iPad from day one, and has found great success.

    ABC’s embrace of the iPad should come as no surprise, as the network is owned by Disney, of which Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the single-largest shareholder. […]

    According to the Times, it is Hulu’s business partners that have pressured it into the subscription plans, “to both bolster revenue and train viewers to pay for online access to professionally produced content.”

    I boldfaced that last part to reinforce the mindset these guys have when they look at us “viewers”. They want to “train” us to pay them. Don’t you just feel special.

  4. Offer a choice of both Pay Per Month and Free, Ad Infested.

    Let iPod/iPhone/iPad users chose their poison. Create a win/win situation. Dare to be brilliant.

  5. “… train viewers to pay for online access to professionally produced content..”

    Unsaid: by subscription

    We already do this for cable/dish TV, so it sounds intriguing. However, $10 a month is 20% of my cable bill and, given the limitations on content, I’d rather put that money to buying files of TV shows that I can keep from iTunes. Oh, they don’t want to train me to buy from iTunes.

    @84 Mac Guy

  6. Won’t pay and have commercials.

    The old advertising models are done and ineffective. They better wake up or they will follow the record industry down the toilet and others will take the billions away from them.

    Some kid in a hoody will be making the money instead of a bunch of suits.

  7. It’s a boring technique: NUDGE
    Small, incremental steps to make you think “huh, doesn’t seem out of place.” Worked with text messages, works with most Cable/Voip/etc services. In the end, you won’t bitch paying 30$/month for mediocre library of content that you can not keep.

    I want a-la-carte from Apple. Put those profits to good use and make yourself a net-only content distributor for TV Channels (read: not shows.) Or get it over with, buy Adobe, fix it up… but that’s another topic.

    I don’t mind profit, but this smacks of GREED alone.
    Uck-Fey Uo-Yey Ulu-Hey!

    MDN Magic: trade… i give you money, you give me value, not glass beads

  8. welcome to 2010, if you can put it on air once for free with commercials there is no reason to charge ever. you cannot train a consumer to pay more. that is ridiculous! good for you abc…to everyone else we will not pay another subscription fee especially one with commerials.

  9. As has been said; this is just greed. They are sending down the canary and hope it lives. If it does, we can expect a fairly swift shift from free-with-ads to ad-free-for-fee model. This would be too bad if they actually left a choice. However, depending on the Hulu’s success, chances are, choice will be eliminated, as bean counters much prefer predictable, even revenue stream (subscription) over unpredictable, burst/lull add-supported revenue model.

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