It doesn’t sound like it’s worked out a specific pay model, let alone a timetable, but News Corp. appears determined to begin charging users of its online video site Hulu.
Broadcasting & Cable‘s Claire Atkinson reported on Wednesday that News Corp. Deputy Chairman Chase Carey told attendees at the B&C OnScreen summit that Hulu “needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business.”
“It’s time to start getting paid for broadcast content online,” he said. …”I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value.”
It’s always risky to extrapolate public opinion from online comments, but if the bulk of the 85-and-counting comments below Atkinson’s article is any indication, News Corp. has a tough sell ahead. Some very representative samples:
“Buh Bye Hulu. I already pay for cable, I’m not paying twice to watch online.”
“i’d go to joost, crackle or tv.com if hulu makes me pay.”
“If HULU charges, I walk. There are plenty of alternatives out there. I really don’t need to watch tv and pay for stuff I don’t care to see. Free though, that is a different story. I love wasting my life chasing free stuff.”
Nothing like aiming high.
Atkinson reported that Carey “suggests there is still no timeline” for Hulu to begin charging, “but supposes it’s at least in 2010.”
This all seems so vague that you have to wonder if Carey’s comments are a trial balloon. If so, it’s being shot down quickly. If not, Hulu may be taking a real gamble by potentially driving away a large percentage — maybe a majority — of its audience. I’m sure the advertisers will love that.