Hulu Finally Announces Subscription Plans: $10/Month To Still Get Advertisements

from the well-that's-comforting dept

As has been predicted and expected for quite some time, Hulu has finally announced its subscription plans. Let's start with the one thing they got right: unlike some newspaper paywalls and such, they're not technically putting the existing offerings behind this subscription wall. Technically, you can still use Hulu for free the same way you did in the past, but as I explain in a bit, this might not work out in practice. So what do you get for your $10 per month? Well, you get access to the latest full season of shows from ABC, NBC and Fox (co-owners of Hulu). Of course, this isn't exactly a benefit. It just means that, unlike currently, Hulu doesn't delete shows quite as quickly -- a point that had been annoying users of the site. What else do you get? Well, you still get the annoying pre-roll/mid-roll/post-roll commercials, so you're not paying to get rid of those. And... hmm... well, if you pay, Hulu is just slightly less obnoxious about trying to block you from accessing the content on a television (even with a perfectly legitimate setup).

That appears to be it. I'm trying to figure out who thought this was compelling. Basically, for $10/month, Hulu will be slightly less annoying to the average user by not deleting content during the season and maybe kinda sorta letting you access Hulu on your TV if you happen to use the "approved" equipment. Of course, you could also use a system that gets around Hulu's bizarre and pointless TV blocks just as easily, but we'll skip over that for now.

Looks like another lost opportunity. Hulu could have come up with real reasons to buy by actually adding value. Instead, it just focused on being slightly less annoying. Some might not see these as being all that different (doesn't it add value to be less annoying?). That's true, but there is a fundamental difference: anyone can be less annoying without getting people to pay for it. Any business should be striving to be less annoying all the time in their core product. When you set up your subscription service around "we'll be less annoying," you've now given yourself a perverse and dangerous set of incentives. You now have the incentive to be more annoying in your core product in a push to get people to sign up for the less annoying product. Effectively, it's nagware, which may work for some segment of the market, but is not about providing more positive value, but about minimizing negative value. That's not a growth strategy.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:50pm


    Ok, I've seen so many negative comments both here and on other news posts.

    I for one am glad they're finally releasing this. I already cancelled my cable (~6 months ago) since everything I watch is on hulu anyway (I have about 50 subscriptions, granted probably 25 of those are (now) cancelled shows).

    I already signed up to get an invite into Hulu Plus, but here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to watch the 4-5 shows they have the full back catalog for that I missed the jump on (Bones, The Office, maybe some X-Files), then cancel my sub until they get more shows I am not caught up on. I don't think I'll be alone in this either.

    I would have preferred there to be no commercials, but I'm OK with this. Alternatively I could get Netflix and get the back seasons of these shows and keep normal Hulu for current episodes. Only problem with that is if I catch up on Netflix mid season (and episodes 1-x are off Hulu already, I'm screwed).

    My computer is hooked up to my 52" HD Sony Bravia with a HDMI cable. I already watch Hulu on it and can't wait to get 720p as well (might be the only thing that gets me to keep Hulu Plus).

    It's not all bad. It's not great either, but it's a start. Remember when Hulu first started, they had a crappy selection and few networks. They keep adding more (despite people saying they're removing content), especially a larger back catalog of many older shows.

    The other thing I wish I got with Hulu Plus was faster access. I would love to get ALL my shows by midnight the day they aired, or worst case 10am the next morning. Instead it looks like I'll have to stick with downloading House/Some SGU/Some Burn Notice since I can't wait the 8-day lag they impose on them.

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