updated 02:45 pm EDT, Thu July 8, 2010
Hulu could drop ads entirely for higher fees
Hulu chief Jason Kilar late Wednesday mentioned that the currently in testing Hulu Plus service could have an extra, ad-free tier. While the $10 Plus service still has the same number of ads and carries its fee solely for wider access, Kilar said he would be 'comfortable' with a more expensive tier that scrapped ads altogether. He wouldn't tell NewTeeVee how likely it was, but did say that demand could influence any decisions.
The willingness to adapt has been paralleled to traditional TV, where some cable- and satellite-only channels rely partly or entirely on revenue from subscription packages where many over-the-air and basic TV stations rely entirely on ads.
An entirely ad-free version of Hulu could be controversial among Hulu's studio backers, many of whom embrace the Internet for some video but are still tied to cable and satellite providers for distribution. Telecom companies have been anxious to avoid cable-cutting, or customers that drop expensive, required TV bundles for much cheaper and often network-independent Internet viewing. The fear is believed to be the impetus behind Hulu's attempts to block Boxee and any other service that would simplify putting Hulu on a TV without a subscription.
Hulu Plus is still in the testing phase but will cater to both mobile and TV-sized devices, including the iPad, Samsung Blu-ray players and Vizio TVs.