Hulu Could turn into a Paid Service, Signs Indicate

HULUThursday saw coming in of some more signs from News Corp. which pointed to the much-speculated idea that Hulu might turn into a paid service, come 2010. The website offering free, commercial-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies to viewers in the US might start charging for at least some of its films and sitcoms.

News Corp’s Deputy Chairman Chase Carey hinted at the recent OnScreen Media Summit that Hulu, a joint venture of News Corp. and NBC Universal, might soon launch a subscription service. “I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value Hulu concurs…”, he said.

While Carey insisted that no time limit for the said paid subscription launch has yet been set, Broadcasting & Cable estimated that it could happen anywhere in the start of 2010. Similar statements were made by News Corp.’s Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who talked about making online content at many of the company owned properties, including the Wall Street Journal, paid.

Charging for online content might be a step taken by Hulu to solve its revenue issues. If the decision comes through, and online viewing is paid for starting next year, it will be a huge deal for many website users who rely on Hulu.