Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

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.

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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.

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26 comments
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  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    I would consider a subscription if it included some form of a la carte offering. Otherwise, I'll just stick with OTA broadcasts and Netflix.
    biobat
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    I would definitely be interested if they did this. I'd love to drop my satellite and have everything over the Internet, BUT they would still need to have the ability to watch shows whenever I wanted.
    evan@...
    • Netflix is a good start

      @evan@... I just signed up for Netflix and was surprised they don't have a plan for more than 2 streams without DVD's. They suggested the 19.99 plan which gives you 3 streams and DVD's. I asked if I could just get 2 7.99 subs and have 4 streams for less money. They acted like I had come up with something they hadn't thought of!
      Biggest problem I have with hulu is it won't work with xbox/ps3/wii like netfilx does. If they want a new customer, get it on the consoles. I would sign the same day.
      20kwfence
      • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

        @20kwfence Hulu Plus is supported on PS3 already, and XBOX369 support is (supposedly) coming soon... http://www.hulu.com/plus#devices
        clemsontiger
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    I would but if I can choose the channels I want to pay to watch (a la carte) and if the definition is close to HD
    leilalex
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    Assuming broadcasters have something worth watching, which hasn't been the case so far. I might give it a try.
    tbanks204
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    Yes, if the price was not too much I would consider it. What I would love it the ability to purchase just those channels or programs that I want and could then watch them whenever I want.. Or perhaps to purchase bundles of channels or programs. Let's say I could purchase my favorite 10 programs in a bundle for $10/ a month along with perhaps another 10 hours of random viewing. That would be awesome, because then I could still perhaps pick up some of the sports that I miss because I don't have cable, while getting all of the specific programs that I like.
    littlemas2
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    You still need to have an Internet connection to any of the steaming services. How does Hulu accomplish that considering the major players in this space are Time Warner, AT&T, etc. They have the infrastructure in place and provide the core services and programs which no doubt will be hard to replace.
    sccarroll@...
    • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

      @sccarroll@...
      baby steps. First you separate from the cable operator on the tv content front. Then you work on the internet front. I would be more than happy to have a current set up of internet through the cable provider and tv content through hulu (assuming the hulu service is comparable to cable tv).

      I personally watch only about 4-7 channels (not counting broadcast which can be had for free anyway). They must be in HD but thats about it. Connecting something streaming the content to the tv is trivial. I already do that now.
      rengek
  • Why would I pay Hulu money if I can get commercial FREE content...

    Why would I pay Hulu money if I can get commercial FREE content through NetFlix?
    olePigeon
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    It would have to run on Linux, I don't/won't use win!@#$.
    Netflix just doesn't get this yet, so go ahead guys, stick your head even deeper into the mud.
    bhaskins@...
    • Have you tried Hulu in the past few years? I use Linux.

      @bhaskins@... I use Ubuntu 10.04 on my system and other distros in virtual box. I never had trouble getting Hulu as long as I had enough RAM and a power CPU. I get choppy video on my PIII with 768 RAM and Linux Mint Debian Edition. <br><br>I also subscribe to Hulu Plus and find interesting programs I never watched or even heard of. I enjoyed it at $9.99 a month and even more at $7.99. Teh movie section has some jewels hidden away.<br><br>As for the commercials, when was the last time you watch a movie on TBS or AMC?<br><br>Paul
      pfyearwood
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    I tried watching Hulu, but every time a commercial comes on the volume spikes and blows out my speakers. Anyways, I have a Media Center PC with a USB tv tuner to record over the air broadcasts, and that is way better than having to login or pay to watch mediocre programming, and annoying commercials. So my answer is no on Hulu.
    DMNDS4YOU
    • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

      @DMNDS4YOU
      The problem is not hulu. The problem is you. Do you have an old or some generic sound card? At least update your sound driver.
      rengek
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    The secret of success will be a la carte offerings. If they listen to the voice of the customer, that's been on of the biggest wish-list items for many years.
    RaulYbarra
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    Yes, I would buy a subscription but only if I could buy just the channels I wanted and the price by comparison was far below what satellite or cable had. I would also like for Hulu to add a memory program that would enable me to start a movie where I had to leave off at, like Netflix does.
    gummybear918714
    • It does. In Hulu Plus.

      @gummybear918714 I get returned to my point of departure on my Hulu viewing, but that may be a part of the Hulu Plus subscription. Even when I use a different virtual machine or my other system on my home network.

      Paul

      Paul
      pfyearwood
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    Good luck with that, ask Netflix what Comcast thinks of that idea...
    trust2112@...
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    Hulu would find it worthwhile to turn itself into a virtual cable company IF, and only if, they gave customers what we've long wanted: ? la carte offerings, rather than a suite for which you pay a flat fee for a bunch of stuff you mostly don't want.
    mliccione
  • RE: Hulu considers turning itself into an online cable operator

    I would go for it. Price has to be cheaper than the WOW cable price I pay now. A La Carte would be even better.


    Dennis
    dennisrizor@...