Hulu has unveiled its long-anticipated premium service, "Hulu Plus." The site, which will supplement rather than replace the current free version of Hulu, will charge users $10 per month to stream unlimited TV shows and movies from the Hulu library. The service is being billed as a "Netflix killer" to compete with that company's popular streaming service. Can it do to Netflix what Netflix did to Blockbuster?
- Netflix Wins: They're 'More Efficient' The Associated Press reports, "Online DVD rental company Netflix Inc. has 'little to worry about' from Hulu's $10-per-month subscription service, says Morgan Keegan analyst Justin T. Patterson. Patterson said Netflix has an advantage because it offers far more content -- DVDs by mail as well as streaming movies, not just TV shows -- and its entry level plan is still a dollar cheaper than Hulu. Netflix also streams on more devices, such as gaming consoles and Web-connected TV sets."
- Hulu Wins: Streaming Selection Beats Netflix Ars Technica's Jacqui Cheng writes, "While many content providers limit their free offerings to just the latest few episodes, Plus users can watch full back seasons of numerous shows, including every X-Files ever made, all six seasons of Grey's Anatomy, the entirety of The Office, and more. Skeptics note that many of these seasons are already accessible to Netflix subscribers, which is true. However, Netflix doesn't offer many of those back seasons for streaming—only on DVD."
- Netflix Wins: Hulu Has Ads, Netflix Doesn't PC World's Brennon Slattery writes, "Now that you're paying for Hulu, the commercial interruptions should stop, right? Wrong. Just like its no-cost brethren, Hulu Plus is still primarily supported by advertisements, according to the Hulu blog. It just seems unfair to have to weather grating ads when other online streaming services -- Netflix's Watch Instantly, for example -- don't have such disruptions."
- Hulu Wins: It's on iPad! TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid writes, "This has been a long time coming. We’ve been hearing about an iPad version of Hulu for months now, and rumors have persisted about a possible Hulu subscription for much longer than that. In March Hulu CEO Jason Kilar announced that the company was profitable based on ads that are served against its free videos, but that hasn’t stopped content owners from pushing for a premium offering. The question now is whether people will pay for it. My hunch is yes, provided the content owners are willing to ensure that Hulu’s library is both current and full of compelling older shows."
- Netflix Wins...For Now The Wall Street Journal's Jennifer Valentino-DeVries warns, "Netflix might not have much to worry about from Hulu’s service right now, Wall Street analysts said, but the new offering represents the first big threat to Netflix and could indicate a bumpy road ahead as more services move into the market. ... Some analysts saw the Hulu news as part of a larger trend that could be problematic for Netflix."
- Apple Wins Newsweek's Kevin Robillard writes, "At the same time, Apple came out looking like a winner in the mobile arena. Hulu Plus will be available on iOS products, but there was nothing in the announcement about Android, Palm, or BlackBerry."