Hulu’s free streaming service, which it launched in 2007, soon will be just a memory; the service instead is going to concentrate on growing its subscription service that now has roughly 12 million subscribers.
But for you (few) users who are still using “free” Hulu, you won’t be left high and dry.
The streaming service that’s co-owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Disney, Fox and soon, Time Warner plans on making the free content available on Yahoo View, the ad-supported service is the progeny offshoot of Yahoo Screen, the service that Yahoo closed earlier this year because it didn't really know what to do with it. Perhaps Verizon, which just made a deal to acquire Yahoo will have better luck.
Meanwhile, some of the Hulu content also will be available on Comcast.
The move frees up Hulu to focus more effort on growing its $7.99/mo. ad-light streaming service and its $11.99/mo. ad-free version, something Hulu has decided doesn’t work with the free product.
“Our limited free offering simply isn’t aligned with our focus on creating the best experience possible and delivering the best content we can to Hulu subscribers,” said Hulu Senior Vice President and Head of Experience Ben Smith.
Yahoo View – as the free Hulu did -- will carry content including the five most recent episodes of shows from ABC, NBC and Fox eight days after they air on the networks.
It launched today and is available here online. It’ll soon be available via apps and the mobile web on iOS and Android devices.
“Video is an important part of Yahoo’s strategy and we’re committed to delivering the best digital video content to our users. To date, we’ve streamed amazing experiences across sports, finance, and news,” Phil Lynch, Yahoo’s VP and head of media partnerships, said in a statement. “This partnership with Hulu is a natural extension of that strategy, bringing the best of TV & entertainment content to our lifestyle vertical.”
But here’s the real issue… the “free” Hulu product has been a service without a real home for a while. The 8-day wait for content, a heavy ad load and its lack of presence on the main Hulu pages marginalized it. Yahoo, may have a better clientele for the service, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
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