Hulu eliminating free tier as content shifts to YahooBy Shawn Knight
Hulu on Monday said it was eliminating its free, ad-supported tier as it moves to a subscription-only (paid) business model. Free content isn't going away, however, thanks to a revised distribution deal with Yahoo.
The Internet pioneer, who was recently sold to Verizon for $4.83 billion, has announced a new streaming TV-watching site called Yahoo View that'll feature content from Hulu.
Viewers will be able to catch the last five episodes of shows from ABC, NBC and FOX eight days after their original broadcast. The new service will also feature other network sitcoms, day-after clips and full seasons of anime and Korean drama.
Hulu, meanwhile, will offer the same two subscription options it has for a while now. For $7.99, you'll get unlimited streaming access bolstered by commercials. Stepping the monthly payment up to $11.99 eliminates all commercials, offering a more Netflix-like viewing experience.
Ben Smith, Hulu senior VP and head of experience, said that for the past couple years, they've been focused on building a subscription service that provides the deepest, most personalized content experience possible. As they have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions and movies, Smith continued, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with their experience or content strategy.
The shuffling comes less than a week after Time Warner announced it would be buying a 10 percent stake in Hulu for $583 million, joining the likes of Comcast, Disney and Fox as co-owners of the streaming video service.
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