For viewers, Hulu is a win-win kind of thing – tons of streaming video, none of it hidden behind a pay-wall. For NBC, ABC, Fox, and the other partners behind Hulu, the site is a river of gold, waiting to be bottled. So it's not entirely surprising that Hulu execs are likely to charge for access when the service hits Apple's hotly-anticipated iPad.
That's the news today from All Things Digital's Peter Kafka, who says Hulu access is likely to be on a subscription basis. "Depending on who you talk to," Kafka writes, "the pay service is either supposed to help the money-losing Web site turn a profit or compensate the networks for the eyeballs and dollars Hulu is supposedly siphoning away. Or both."
The implication is that the computer-based Hulu might remain mostly-to-totally free, while owners of the iPad would be forced to pay. Over at Gizmodo, Matt Buchanan says he'd happily consider a subscription. "[I]f there's a video service out there people will pay for besides Netflix, it's Hulu. At least, if some of the restrictions on back episodes are lifted," Buchanan writes. "I want the full run of Buffy at my fingertips."
But how much change would users be willing to cough up to watch Hulu shows on their iPads? Kafka says Hulu execs have not settled on a price. “It’s a tricky balancing act that we’re trying to fine-tune before we go out,” one source told Kafka. “Everyone’s concerned about making a strong offering at a good price, and not undercutting the existing business.”