During a talk at an Internet Week event the other night, News Corp.’s chief digital officer, Jonathan Miller, suggested some of Hulu’s content might become available only to subscribers. Miller’s comments echoed NBC CEO Jeff Zucker’s words at the D7 conference last week where he said that a Hulu subscription was a possibility (New TeeVee).
Hulu is successful because it is like broadcast TV, free to anyone who picks up the signal... If Fox and NBC get their way, there are some people who will pay, but the majority will go back to P2P for their free TV.
How Paid Content on Hulu Might Work
The only way I could possibly see this working is if they left the standard definition content (up to the hi-res) free for anyone to watch and made the high definition (HD) a paid extra. I think the hi res video is good enough to keep most people on the site, but the extra cost of sending HD video could be subsidized by those who really want it.
The only other way I could see this working is if they offered a commercial free Hulu as a paid service. That is something even I might pay for.
If they make all of the content for pay, then Hulu will quickly go out of business.
The "Good" News
Hulu says they have no plans to switch from their free model to a paid one.. Cold comfort, but I'll take what I can get.