In a blog post today, Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu, announced that the Hulu Plus subscription service is finally launching out of preview status, where it has sat since July. Roku owners and PlayStation 3 owners with a PlayStation Network account get first crack at the finalized service, and in the months to come Kilar says Hulu Plus will be coming to a number of Internet-connected Vizio, LG, and Panasonic Blu-ray players and HDTVs, as well as TiVo Premier DVDs, the Xbox 360, Western Digital's WD TV Live Hub Media Center, and a whole bunch more.
"We haven't forgotten about our existing device lineup and applications, either," Kilar said. "Over the next week, updates to the Samsung, PlayStation 3, and Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch Hulu Plus apps will be available, bringing a variety of bug fixes and feature and performance enhancements."
Hulu also dropped the price of its subscription from $9.99 to $7.99, which is retroactive. All current subscribers who joined during the preview period are eligible to receive a credit for the difference, which Hulu will automatically apply to their next billing cycle.
So how does it compare to Netflix? With the price drop, Hulu Plus matches Netflix's streaming service. The trade off with Hulu Plus is that you still have to contend with ads, but most of the content comes much earlier than on Netflix.
Sony announced it has gone and shoved the Hulu Plus subscription service into its Dash Personal Internet Viewer device, giving viewers access to thousands of TV shows and movies.
"The addition of Hulu Plus serves as an ideal example of how Dash continues to evolve and improve over time," said Brennan Mullion, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' personal imaging and audio business. "With Hulu on board, the Dash platform has the ability to deliver a huge variety of online entertainment instantly to consumers' homes on top of glanceable, real-time tidbits of information."
Sony's Dash ($200) sports a 7-inch color touchscreen display with built-in stereo speakers. The Hulu Plus service runs $10/month and joins the fray of more than 1,000 compatible free apps for the Dash platform.
Hulu announced on their company blog this morning that the premium Hulu Plus service has officially been opened to all interested viewers. Previously, you needed an invite to sign up for the pay service. As of now, the video streaming site is charging $9.99 per month for access to the expanded catalog of shows. There were rumblings that Hulu would be lowering the Price to $5, but that hasn't happened yet.
Paying users will have access to Hulu Plus on the PC, iPad, PS3, Roku, and some Blu-ray players. Hulu also took to opportunity to showcase the expanding lineup of Plus content including The Event and No Ordinary Family. Hulu Plus has gotten some poor reviews due to limited content. Much of what is available is also on the free version of the service.
Now that any random user can sign up, Hulu may begin hearing complaints about the selection. Perhaps some changes, like the rumored price drop, could happen somewhere down the road. Have you tried Hulu Plus? Was it worth it?
It looks as though video streaming site Hulu is on the verge of dropping the price of their Hulu Plus service dramatically. The pay service, which launched in June for $10 per month, could be cut in half to only $4.95 a month. This may be an indication that Hulu has been unable to lure in enough users during the beta period to make the service viable.
Hulu Plus as designed to bring in a second, and presumably larger, revenue stream. But lacking selection has apparently stifled demand. Many of the shows Hulu offers additional content for on Hulu Plus are from the studios that own stakes in Hulu including Fox, NBC, and ABC. Most cable shows are left out of the Hulu Plus line-up.
We're forced to wonder, is this an indication that Hulu won't be getting a better selection? If they could beef up the catalog, keeping the $10 price point could be a possibility. Since they are lowering the price, that could be a sign that it isn't getting much better than this. Would you subscribe to Hulu Plus for $5 a month?
If you live in the US, odds are you've used Hulu. You probably even think it's a cool service. But do you think it's worth $2 billion? That's apparently what Hulu thinks they're worth according to a report from Reuters. Sources say that Hulu is looking to raise $200-300 million in an IPO, which would value the entire company at about $2 billion.
The official filing should hit the SEC late in 2010, meaning the IPO will happen in the first half of 2011. Sure, these are some big numbers, but investors are still skittish. Hulu's entire business model relies on their network partners continued generosity. If they chose not to license content to Hulu, the site would quickly die. As it is, Hulu has to pay nearly half its ad revenue to content partners.
The recently launched subscription service is perhaps another way to pull in some cash, but it remains to be seen if Hulu can attract significant numbers of users. Still more, can they get the content deals to fill out the selection? What do you think Hulu's future holds?
What just a day ago was rumor, now is a sure thing. Both TiVo and Roku boxes will be getting access to Hulu's $10 per month Plus service. TiVo will be offering the feature to customers that purchase Premere DVR service. Of course, a Hulu subscription will still be required.
Roku is taking the pricing angle to lure in potential buyers. In a statement, Roku founder Anthony Wood called the company's streaming solution "the most inexpensive device to stream Hulu content [to a TV]." The Roku boxes retail for between $59.99 and $99.99 and have access to Netflix and Amazon video already.
Is this what TiVo needs to pull out of their slump? With the cheaper option in the Roku, it's tough to see how TiVo will attract new buyers with this feature.
People have really been anxious to see Hulu spread to more TV-connected devices since the service launched. The PS3 and iOS devices are a nice start, but it looks like Roku is up next. This is still up in the air, but sources are saying that a Hulu channel will be on Roku boxes in the coming weeks. It's not possible to know if this will be available for the free Hulu, or just for Hulu Plus.
As it stands now, only subscribers to Hulu Plus are able to get the streaming content on anything but a PC. Plus subscribers have access to content on the PS3, iPad, iPhone, and a few Blu-Ray players and TVs. The Plus service is still an invite only beta, and the early impressions are not good. Many complain about the lack of content. Would you be more tempted to pick up a Roku box if it had Hulu?
Now that Hulu Plus has been live for two months, everyone has had time to dissect the selection. To everyone's dismay, the content offered on the $10 per month service is looking a little scant. A new analysis by research firm One Touch Intelligence says that of all the shows on Hulu Plus, over 88% of them are already free on Hulu.
For that extra $10 dollars, it would seem you're not getting a huge amount of new content. When looking at the raw numbers, it might be a little more comforting. Out of the 28,000 episodes on Hulu Plus, 3,345 of them are only for paid subscribers. It is a few thousand shows, many of them popular current programs.
But still, most users are unimpressed with the current selection. Hulu Plus is still in preview, and has only been operating for 60 days. As time goes on, more content will likely be added. It will be interesting to see where Hulu Plus stands when it is no longer calling itself a preview.
The free ride might soon be over, or at least slowing down. According to a report in the New York Times, Hulu, the popular online streaming site, will begin testing a subscription service called Hulu Plus perhaps as early as May 24.
Users who aren't interested in forking over a monthly stipend would still be able to view the five most recent episodes of most TV shows for free, such as Saturday Night Live and Glee. Where the subscription comes into play is for viewers who want to watch a bigger selection.
Hulu, the second largest video portal on the planet, has turned a profit in the last two quarters and has pulled in more than $100 million in revenue from advertising. But according to the NYT, Hulu is under increasing pressure from its owners to rake in more cash and get viewers accustomed to paying a monthly subscription for professional content.
Do you think the $9.95 fee is reasonable? Would you subscribe to a service like this?