Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

Summary:While Netflix is thriving as it turns itself into more and more into a paid online streaming service, Hulu is struggling internally to figure out what direction it will take, according to the Wall Street Journal. One idea being given serious consideration: turn Hulu into a "virtual cable operator.

While Netflix is thriving as it turns itself into more and more into a paid online streaming service, Hulu is struggling internally to figure out what direction it will take, according to the Wall Street Journal. One idea being given serious consideration: turn Hulu into a "virtual cable operator."

With TV networks increasing unhappy with giving Hulu new episodes of their programming right away, the company is mulling this drastic move. Its paid offering, Hulu Plus, was launched last year at $9.99 per month for access to Hulu's deep TV library, but it's already cut the price to $7.95 per month. (One exec wanted to drop the price to $4.95 per month, but was voted down.)

With revenues trailing Netflix's by a wide margin and ABC working on its own subscription-based online service, Hulu is fishing around for the best business model. Acting as a "cable" operator could appease networks that are tired of offering new episodes to viewers for free (with ads, but totaling up to far less revenue than advertising on the original TV broadcast), while possibly enticing more consumers that aren't willing to pay for Hulu Plus as it's currently configured.

There's no timeline on Hulu's next steps, so there's plenty of time to debate what its future would look like. Would you considering subscribing to a Hulu-based suite of online stations? If so, how much would you be willing to pay per month? If not, what does Hulu need to do in order to survive the changing online video landscape? Let us know in the Comments section.

Topics: Telcos, Hardware, Mobility, Networking

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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