This is a follow-up to my earlier post last October when serious speculation started about how Hulu would charge for content. To summarize my first post: Sure, I’ll pay for Hulu, provided they get rid of the ads. One business model is plenty.
This week, the news broke about Hulu Plus, a $10 / month subscription plan to allow users to access “archived” episodes of shows that Hulu already makes available.
Hulu is an unpredictable mess when it comes to the availability of a given episode. A new episode of “House, MD”, for example, shows up eight days after it airs. But “Ghost Hunters” will be available the next day, except maybe if the first episode was a live event (why that makes a difference, I can’t tell. Someone recorded it, right?). Even shows which were canceled years ago are made available on a seemingly random basis. As I write this, there are five episodes of “Angel” you can watch, episodes 3 through 7 of season one. What?
Reportedly, this new “Hulu Plus” service will cost you $9.95 a month (probably per login), is totally optional, and will give you access to episodes which Hulu has marked as “expired”. Hopefully, this will also make available every episode of canceled shows like “Angel”.
From PC World:
There are some unknowns about Hulu’s subscription plan, though. There are no details on whether the $10 subscription will let you watch an unlimited number of episodes from the site or if there would be some sort of metering in place. Also, it’s unknown if advertising would be displayed during the back catalogue episodes.
I can’t guess right now if this is something my family would want. Right now, I can’t even keep up with the shows I enjoy, much less make time for older episodes, but my wife enjoys some background noise on occasion, and I admit it’s tempting to have the option of watching something I enjoyed once but which has expired. This isn’t the only way, of course. Just recently I bought a couple of episodes of The West Wing which were particularly good from the iTunes store, and all the seasons of Buffy and The X-Files are now streaming on Netflix.
I’d also like to point out that prior to Hulu Plus, Hulu has posted an operating profit for the last two quarters just using advertising revenue. Just using one business model, instead of combining business models.
Are you itching to get at expired episodes on Hulu?
Report: Hulu to Offer $10-Per-Month Subscription, Daniel Ionescu, PC World, 22 April 2010