Many felt some disappointment in learning that Hulu's $10 a month premium service would still show ads to users. Those individuals may have reason for hope today as Hulu's CEO, Jason Kilar, has said that an ad-free version of the service is a possibility. While nothing is official, Kilar seemed sympathetic to customer concerns.
Hulu is offering an increased selection of video, and access from other devices to justify the $10 fee. Kilar pointed out to NewTeeVee that there are many business models for online video distribution. It did seem clear, however, that any ad-free Hulu would cost more than the current $10 subscription. So we have to wonder, would you pay more to ditch the ads? We're a little skeptical many people would go for it.
There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. And there ain’t no such thing as a free MMO, either. But there is such a thing as an MMO that doesn’t slowly-but-surely siphon a small fortune from your bank account, and it seems to be all the rage these days. Dungeons & Dragons Online rolled a last-minute, tide-turning 20 by giving the boot to its subscription fee, and Lord of the Rings Online seems poised for a similar resurgence. But what about the perennial king of the subscription-based MMO hill?
“At some point, it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee,” World of Warcraft lead designer Tom Chilton told PC Gamer.
Of course, at this particular moment, 11.5 million subscribers say it still makes plenty of sense. In fact, many have speculated that subscriptions are going the way of the Dodo precisely because Blizzard’s hogging all the potential subscribers. Chilton, however, doesn’t buy it.
“I feel like they’re doing that to compete with other games that are on a similar subscriber level to what they were at. I imagine that when one of them went free to play it cannibalized some of the other subscribers. I can definitely imagine that being the case with World of Warcraft. If another game comes along and blows us away it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee. Or even further down the line, when we have another MMO out.”
For now, though, keep on pinching those pennies. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, after all, and WoW’s the most well-oiled machine on the block. And besides, we all know where that money’s really going. Yep: Warcraft IV. Please, Blizzard? Pretty please with a reactivated WoW account on top?
Apart from the cost of the laptop, interested parties need to factor in the monthly subscription charge needed to access the apps suite. The subscription fee starts at £9.99 ($15) a month. Apparently, BCC believes Alex is uncomplicated and secure enough – it requires no additional anti-virus programs - to justify the monthly fee. However, given the subscription fee, it may prove to be a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea for some people. What is more daunting, modern computers or BCC's subscription fee?
A USB key bundled with the laptop is required at all times to access the desktop. The laptop features a 15.4-inch WXGA TFT LCD display, an Intel T1600 Celeron1.6GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 120GB storage and a 1.3-megapixel webcam.
Online newspapers have tread warily around the question of charging for their content. Let’s face it, gathering and disseminating the news is a pricey business. It needs to generate enough revenue to cover costs, and a little profit to boot. But online sites don’t generate much revenue (or so we're told), a situation made untenable by the continuing erosion of the readership of print versions. The opting of charging for access is tempting, if it weren’t for users. You need them for the traffic that generates the paltry ad revenues now being received. Charge them for access and they may stay or, more likely, they may leave, taking with them what little revenue they generated.
The New York Times has taken the bold step of saying it will start charging users of its online site. Not right away, mind you, but in 2011. And not everyone, just those who are frequent readers (and who don’t subscribe to the print edition). It’s a plan, that’s for sure. And it does take some courage to venture into waters yet untested.
But what about the details? That’s the interesting bit. According to the Times, besides the 2011 start date all other terms are up in the air. What’s a “frequent reader”? The Times won’t say. How much will it charge? The Times doesn’t know. According to company chair and publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., “This announcement allows us to begin the thought process that’s going to answer so many of the questions that we all care about.” In other words, we aren’t venturing, just yet, in to waters untested, but rather are dipping in a big toe to see how cold those waters might be.
The Times considers highly the work it does. According to Bill Keller, the executive editor, “It underscores the value of what we do — trustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism, which is an increasingly rare and precious thing.” One wonders if the current users of the Times online place as much value on the Times’ “increasingly rare and precious thing” as does the Times.