It's been reported that Hulu is currently beta testing a paid subscription service. But what implications does that have for the site, video advertising and the industry in general?What most likely made Hulu the most popular TV site on the web was a combination of the content and the fact that it was all free thanks to ad-support. But what happens when they pull the plug on advertising and go straight to a pay-per-view model? Will Internet users line up and fork over cash to watch online at their own leisure what they can watch on TV for free?
That's what Hulu seems to be betting on. The catch? The subscription service will probably remove the advertisements for you. If you own TiVo, a DVR or any other type of device you already have this ability and you don't need to be online to view the content. So is this a wise step for Hulu?
Considering I don't like them already as I can't view any of their content since I'm outside of their allowed areas I'm inclined to say no it's a stupid idea. However, a thought occurred to me while writing that, what if this is the way they can open it to the entire world? Would I personally pay for something that I can't commonly see here on local TV, online, at my own leisure? Well now, that is an interesting queston.
They always say that they are working out licensing to show the content in my area. However, they own the licenses don't they? So who are they trying to work things out with? It can't be the local TV stations, they don't even air the shows in English. I don't see how it would even impact their business. so what I guess that licensing message really meant was - We're trying to find a way to make you pay to watch the stuff others see for free.
Well sir, I simply won't stand for that. If this is indeed their way to get their content to the rest of the world, this is one online video consumer who will not fork over cash. I will continue to find other ways to see the shows I want to see, or I simply won't see them at all and when friends buy the DVDs and I'm on holiday in the states, I'll just borrow theirs and catch up. Then I don't even have to give them money to purchase their DVDs.
It's not a wise move Hulu. You risk alienating all of those people who made you what you are already if you are going to ask them all to pay. You certainly risk alienating people who, like myself, are not in a position to watch any of your content - free or otherwise. Because why should some of us have to pay to see it when others don't have to pay at all?
Other speculation says aside from ad-free content Hulu may also include extra content. Frankly, I generally just want to watch a show, not a documentary on the making of the episode (except for Dr. Who, for some reason I'll consume anything they put forth), I don't really want interviews with the actors who will say things like "I was totally out of touch with the character and so I asked the director, like, what's my motivation? And he like, totally said this, I'm not kidding...you're hungry. I mean it was soooo simple, and then I just went and did the scene in one take."
Honestly, would anyone pay for that?
Perhaps the charging of a fee would prod some other prominent content providers to buy into Hulu's idea. Then you'll be able to get your entire TV fix from one site. No more televisions necessary, just big LCD displays. It could be a monopoly even if they get everyone. Alright, that probably won't happen. It could be that some new providers to eventually jump on the Hulu feed wagon so that they too can get their slice of the Hulu pie.
In the long run this will either prove an ingenious idea or a total blunder. That is if they even ever go beyond their testing phases and decide to roll it out as well as how they exactly roll it out. I'll wait and see and continue to watch the shows I want to shows through alternative sources.