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Paying for Hulu
Is the No. 2 video site going to start charging to watch TV online? If not, maybe it should.
 

“We all groaned at the news about Hulu moving to a paid model next year,” says Chris Jacob in Gizmodo, but if the price is right—say, a Netflix-like $10 to $20 a month—it may be worth the cost. If Hulu owners NBC, ABC, and Fox make new episodes available right away, add more content, and give us set-top playback, “I might be willing to part with a few bucks a month and ditch my cable company entirely.”

Hulu “isn’t putting up a pay wall around its Web TV site,” no matter what the rumors say, says Peter Kafka in All Things Digital. What it is looking at is a two-tiered system, where the stuff already on the site now will stay free, but new “premium” shows will be added for a cost—or maybe pay-per-view movies and TV. Hulu is doing much better than expected, even “coming close to break-even” selling ads alone, so the extra revenue stream isn’t urgent.

That’s too bad—Hulu should charge us, says Chadwick Martin in The Big Money. It’s earned it by growing so fast and changing the TV industry, and putting up some sort of pay wall would keep NBC, ABC, and Fox invested in keeping the site up and running. And besides, the Internet has grown up, and so should we: if we want the Web to thrive, “we’re going to have to pay for things we really love once they become successful.”

 

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