The headline “Hulu is going subscription” has been making headlines around the net recently, but as usual, some of these claims are somewhat exaggerated. New Corps. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker indicated that Hulu may indeed one day have a subscription based service, but “no decisions have been made yet”. Inside sources have indicated that Hulu is already beta testing subscription based video services internally, but that this is merely an attempt to hammer out the technical details.
The challenge for Hulu at this point is to successfully find a strategy for transitioning to a paid business model, especially when its popularity was largely fueled by the simple fact that it was the best legal way to get free access to TV shows. Experimenting with new business models isn’t surprising, it’s even healthy, but where it leads is anyone guess. Hulu is also in a great position to watch and learn as Google attempts to implement its paid content. Adding paid offerings to a free online video service may or may not take off, but at least they appear to be letting someone else take the lead.
Either way it doesn’t sound like Hulu will be going subscription anytime soon, but at least it shows they are still dedicated to the future of the service.