Hulu + Subscription Service = Hulu Plus

More

Do you like your Hulu free? Then enjoy the next month, because things are about to change.

The online TV and video streaming site is going ahead with its plan to put old episodes of popular shows behind a $9.95 monthly subscription wall called Hulu Plus. The last five episodes of popular shows will still be free, plus advertising. Everything before that will require subscription.

Hulu started to turn a profit six months ago, but joint owners News Corp, NBC and Disney are pushing the site to start experimenting with additional pay models. While the journalism and music industries have tried to copy Hulu with digital storefront and Vevo, Hulu has gazed enviously on Netflix, the movie rental service which coaxes a monthly subscription fee in exchange for limitless online viewing.

Don't blame Hulu for abandoning the ad-only approach to supporting online media. Newspapers like the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal have the same combo strategy of charging for premium content and supporting the rest with advertising. The New York Times is looking to put up its own internal meter in 2011. Ad supported music sites like Pandora and Grooveshark offer limitless listening and zero ads in exchange for a monthly fee. Large media companies will continue to dip their toes into price differentiation -- charging higher levels for "premium" media experiences -- because until somebody figures out how to convince advertisers to pay dead-tree rates for pixel ads, publishers will have to soak users for some extra dough.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In