Well, you can't say we didn't see it coming. Today, Hulu announced it would place a good deal of content – including episodes of shows such as "The Office" and "Heroes" – behind a pay wall, and roll out "Hulu Plus" to a range of Web-connected devices, from the Apple iPad to the iPhone. "More wherever. More whenever. Than ever," reads the marketing copy for Hulu Plus, which is expected to go live in the next couple of months.
According to the AP, Hulu Plus will feature past seasons of many popular television shows, as well as newer content from ABC, Fox, and NBC. Users will be asked to fork over $10 a month for a all-access subscription to Hulu Plus; meanwhile, the original Hulu platform will remain free, although the selection will likely be greatly diminished.
So if you buy a Hulu Plus subscription, does that mean you get to stop watching those pesky advertisements? Actually, no. "Certainly there was an opportunity for us to offer an ad-free service at a higher price," Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar told a reporter for the AP this week. "But we heard loud and clear from consumers that they would prefer to have a lower price in a way that advertising helps lower the cost."
Hulu Plus will appear on a range of consoles in coming months, according to reports. Among the Hulu Plus-friendly devices: Samsung Blu-ray players, Sony's PlayStation 3, and eventually, Microsoft's Xbox360. The question now is whether consumers will opt for Hulu Plus or Netflix.com.
For our part, we probably won't be leaving Netflix for Hulu Plus anytime soon. Netflix service is cheap – it costs us $8.99 a month for unlimited streaming and one DVD rental – and the selection is hard to beat. But maybe you feel differently. Drop us a line.