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Will Hulu be free forever? Don't count on it, hints exec

By Matthew Shaer / June 4, 2009

Hulu, the popular streaming video site, is considering charging its users to view some content, according to a new report. But will users play along?

Courtesy of Hulu

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Web users around the globe heaved a collective groan today, after Daily Finance published an interview with Jonathan Miller, the new chief digital officer at News Corporation. Asked if he could envision a future where popular video site Hulu would become a paid subscription service, Miller didn't demur.

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"In my opinion," he said, "the answer could be yes. I don't see why over time that shouldn't happen. I don't think it's on the agenda for [the next company meeting, but] it seems to me that over time that could be a logical thing." Hulu is co-owned by News Corp., NBC Universal, and Disney. According to ComScore, the site's traffic has soared in recent months.

Jeff Bercovici, the Daily Finance reporter who landed the scoop, wrote that, "considering that Miller is in charge of coordinating News Corp.'s efforts to find new ways to get consumers to pay for digital content generated by News Corp.'s properties ā€“ which include Fox Television, Fox News, 20th Century Fox films, The Wall Street Journal and much more ā€“ his definition of what's logical is likely to carry a lot of weight."

The reaction to the Daily Finance story was fast and furious today, with bloggers and Twitter users denouncing the (hypothetical) move. Over at Slashfilm.com, Peter Sciretta wrote, "Ad supported content seems to be the future of the web, so Iā€™m not sure why Hulu would want to go backwards." Meanwhile, Ed Oswald, a Technologizer blogger writes:

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