Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

Summary: Once the hottest thing on the Web, Hulu is now retrenching as the video-streaming market matures and shifts. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the company -- which includes the parent companies of Fox, NBC, and ABC as investors -- has decided against filing an IPO to raise money and is considering additional subscription plans to supplement its current Hulu Plus offering.

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Once the hottest thing on the Web, Hulu is now retrenching as the video-streaming market matures and shifts. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the company -- which includes the parent companies of Fox, NBC, and ABC as investors -- has decided against filing an IPO to raise money and is considering additional subscription plans to supplement its current Hulu Plus offering.

Hulu recently rolled out its first paid plan, which charges $7.99 per month for older video content that isn't available to viewers accessing the free site, in the hopes of raising revenue beyond the ads it places in its episodes. Despite dropping the Hulu Plus price from an initial $9.99 per month, the company says that the subscriber count has outperformed expectations.

However, Hulu is running up against a couple of major obstacles, one external and one internal. The outside factor is Netflix's success with its streaming service, and while it offers little in the way of new TV episodes and movies, it does have an extensive catalog of titles that Hulu Plus lacks. A major reason for Hulu's need for more cash is to obtain additional content that would make its subscription plan more attractive.

The company is also facing pressure from its content partners to come up with other pricing plans that provide more revenue to those partners. No details were reported about such plans. But those partners would need to open up their archives fully in order to justify new pricing, especially as Netflix aggressively pursues content for its service -- even inking deals with Hulu's partners. After all, there's a good reason Hulu Plus already received a price cut. Maybe charging $9.99 per month for a version of Hulu Plus that eliminates all ads would be a good start.

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21 comments
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  • Lack of Content

    I almost signed up for Hulu Plus until I realized that the standard Hulu content was not included.
    It would be most convenient to receive Hulu on my Roku/XBox/Wii and I would be willing to pay a reasonable monthly fee for the convenience. However without the standard Hulu content - Hulu Plus is just a very pale imitation of Netflix.
    In my opinion it simply isn't worth the money. I'll stick with Netflix.
    doug.latch@...
    • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

      @doug.latch@...

      Same here. Besides, some of the "old" content on Hulu-lite I prefer can be had elsewhere.
      dwhipple
    • Lack of Content

      @doug.latch@... I agree
      Roy Hyder
    • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

      @doug.latch@... You've got a great point. Hulu won't be able to outnetflix Netflix. The more these services start to resemble one another, the more they will both suffer because they'll be forcing themselves to compete on price. I think Hulu's owners, the networks, will have to be a lot more restrictive in what shows they sell to NetFlix so Hulu will have more exclusive content.

      And I think both services will have to differentiate themselves in other ways, too. NetFlix still offers DVD plans, which is somewhat of a differentiator. I'll bet one or both of them is considering integrating some content into a social networking platform, like www.fargotube.com does with music videos and iTunes/Ping does with music.
      Cbagley
    • Excuseme? What's not available?

      @doug.latch@... I subscribe to Hulu Plus and it also gets all the regular offerings. It is the items that do not have the little green HULU+ icon. I am very happy with its Hulu+ service. Sometimes, they even offer the entire back episodes of popular shows. Like the entire catalog of L&O SVU. It also has back episodes of some shows like In Plain Sight and Bones for a short term.I get better choice that the On Demand offerings from Brighthouse.

      Thank you
      Paul
      pfyearwood
  • Hulu is for completely different content.

    I use Hulu Plus in CONJUNCTION with Netflix streaming. Why? I don't have cable TV and i'm in an area that I cannot get local channels with an OTA antenna. <br><br>Hulu Plus allows my wife to watch current seasons of Glee, House, The Office, and Lie to me. All with FAR less commercials than if we watched them over the air. It's also cheaper ($7.99 for hulu plus, $10 for basic cable (non HD))<br><br>@Doug. Hulu Plus includes all regular Hulu content, your statement, "I almost signed up for Hulu Plus until I realized that the standard Hulu content was not included."<br>is completely false. <br><br>Some content on Hulu.com is not available on set-top boxes and is only available via a browser. This is not Hulu vs. Hulu Plus, it's the content owner placing restrictions on the content.
    NetworkBankAdmin
  • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

    Tried the free 2 month trial from Sony for Hulu Plus. But I will cancel that because WHY do I have to pay and still are forced to watch commercials?
    I stay with NETFLIX, which I enjoy much more...
    mtschrey
    • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

      [i]Tried the free 2 month trial from Sony for Hulu Plus. But I will cancel that because WHY do I have to pay and still are forced to watch commercials?[/i]

      That sounds like a rip-off. Thanks for letting me know.
      LTV10
    • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

      @mtschrey

      you don't want to pay for watching shows with commercials... but I'd bet you have cable/direcTV/dish, which you pay for and are still forced to watch commercials. The problem with internet tv is that everyone wants it to be commercial free, but no one wants to pay the price it takes to keep it commercial free. It's sort of an unfair double standard in my opinion.

      Personally, I don't have any cable or satellite subscription, and I still think Hulu is asking people to pay too much for their plan when you can get much deeper content from Netflix for the same rate (and while we're on the subject, commercial free)... but that doesn't change that I feel like we should all open up to the idea that it would all probably become more affordable if we weren't such commercial nazis.
      Mack2D2
      • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

        @Mack2D2

        Hulu needs to stop trying to compete with Netflix. It has a very nice niche roll that Netflix currently can't touch. (offering current TV series.)

        If Hulu continues to expand it's available current TV shows it will do just fine. It's a low-cost on-demand solution for current television shows.

        Leave previous seasons and movies to Netflix, they are already miles ahead of all the competition and I don't see Hulu or anyone else playing catch-up anytime soon.
        NetworkBankAdmin
      • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

        @Mack2D2 <br><br>I wonder how many people expect Netflix to stay commercial free and/or $7.99 as their buffet of content continues to grow.<br><br>Netflix is adding a lot of 2010 tv seasons in January. It would take me months to watch all of the things on Netflix that I want to watch, when I have time to watch them. <br><br>Still, I'm hoping that they add an additional tier to their buffet for those of us wanting the latest movies and tv without having to go to another distribution system to get them (i.e. Redbox, Amazon VOD, etc) or wait 2 to 6 months or more for it to become available in the main feeding trough.<br><br>I think $7.99 for what is the equivalent of near basic cable (what they have now) plus a second tier at about $14.99 to $19.99 for all that plus the latest and greatest blockbuster hits and newest tv content....without commercials...or at least without commercial breaks and no more than 30 to 60 seconds of commercials before the streaming commences.<br><br>As for the DVDs, we've had one sitting on a shelf for well over 6 months now that we have yet to bother to send back to get our next DVD in our queue because we are too busy streaming content.<br><br>We've been cord-cutters for over 3 years now and don't miss anything cable/satelite has to offer. We were at our friends' house just the other day and they have DirecTV...and after flipping through all the channels several times over and getting frustrated, we wish we had Netflix on something mobile that we could plug into the TV set.

        Our friends are wanting to get broadband internet...just so they can get Netflix now.
        VRSpock
      • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

        [i]The problem with internet tv is that everyone wants it to be commercial free, but no one wants to pay the price it takes to keep it commercial free. It's sort of an unfair double standard in my opinion.[/i]

        @Mack2D2
        I don't think so. Not when some people's cable bill approaches $150 a month and they're still forced to watch commercials. Add that up by the thousands and it sounds like a sweetheart deal for all the content providers concerned.
        search &amp; destroy
  • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

    When the day comes that I can get HD content from hulu on the same same day, (or 1 day later) that the show comes out, and it won't disappear in a week if I don't watch it, then i'll get hulu plus. For now hulu lite plus netflix without cable is fine with me.
    KBot
  • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

    A couple of friends of mine got Roku boxes, as I recently did. They complained that they canceled Hulu Plus because they weren't going to pay for programming with advertisements. On that basis, I haven't even looked at it.
    dougsyo@...
    • &quot;weren't going to pay for programming with advertisements.&quot;

      @dougsyo@... That was the original reason to buy cable; to avoid commercials. Yet today there is almost as much time spent being peddled to as watching the content you paid for by way of a over-priced cable bill.<br><br>The only thin that bothers me more than this? Having to watch commercials before a movie I just paid to watch at a theater.
      People
  • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

    Hulu Plus has Two strikes against it. First I am sick and tired of Hulu (and Netflicks) trying to nickel and dime me to death. I am not paying $95.88 to $119 annually when I am very light TV viewer. The need to have a pay to play plan like Itunes.
    Second why should I pay Hulu for what I can get fro free on Hulu.
    Scatcatpdx
  • The elephant in the room

    The problem with internet TV is revenue. Gee, who did not see that coming. I think the big question is will we end up spending as much for internet TV as we have for cable or satellite and will it be any different? Are we just changing the way its delivered?
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • You will spend MORE for Internet TV

      @jscott418

      The major broadband providers started talking together years ago about pushing everybody to metered usage. But it would take two things to happen: all providers do it at the same time (collusion) and support from the FCC (no penalties or anti-trust actions). Now that chairman Julius Genachowski has publicly floated the balloon of metered pricing, expect to see the cablecos to run with the idea in 2011.

      Under many of the pricing plans being considered, a home that watched 4 or more hours of "Internet TV" across all devices (TVs and PCs) could end up paying $150/month JUST FOR BANDWIDTH. That doesn't include the subscription or PPV fees for content.

      Sounds like a real deal now, eh?
      terry flores
      • RE: Hulu yanks IPO, mulls other subscription plans

        @terry flores

        Where did you get your $150/ month number? It's irresponible to post numbers like this without a link to the information. Otherwise you are simply spreading FUD.
        NetworkBankAdmin
  • Metered Pricing

    I'm not sure if 150.00 a month is too much but if you meter usage and provide 100 gb for 50 bucks, you could see someone could climb up the ladder. I think for most, the average cable bill is about 100 bucks going up or down a package or 2. Broadband access today will run you about 50 bucks a month. The goal with online usage is to be able to watch content and reduce your cable bill by 40 bucks. 2 main issues i've noted. If HDtv is important, internet tv is not for you and if you like instant streaming of your tv shows, you best stick with cable.
    Then again, if you don't really watch much tv, get some rabbit years and just watch local channels, you will be shocked at how much time you free up to do more active things.
    rgor@...