The ‘Free’ Version of Hulu Is Going Away

Ten years ago, Hulu was co-founded by most of the major broadcast networks as a way to pool their streaming resources and offer a monetized and legal way for fans to watch their programs online in order to combat piracy. The most important aspect of Hulu is that it was free, with ad-supported content. But this week, Hulu is moving away from that model and the site will now only be available for subscribers.

The Wrap broke the story about Hulu’s move to a subscription-only service, which will begin in a few days. Hulu has been slowly moving in this direction for years, and it even introduced an ad-free subscription service last year. However, the free Hulu model had been in place almost a decade and there are definitely viewers who will be upset about losing this option.

Hulu isn’t entirely abandoning its original model, but it is outsourcing it to Yahoo View, a new streaming site that will feature some of the content formerly available for free on Hulu. That means that the most recent five episodes of shows from Fox, NBC, ABC, and other networks will continue to share a home. However, The CW’s shows were recently pulled from Hulu, and rumor has it that they may end up on CBS All-Access. 

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“Video is an important part of Yahoo’s strategy and we’re committed to delivering the best digital video content to our users. To date, we’ve streamed amazing experiences across sports, finance, and news,” said Yahoo’s Phil Lynch in a statement. “This partnership with Hulu is a natural extension of that strategy, bringing the best of TV & entertainment content to our lifestyle vertical.”

That move might attract the majority of affected Hulu viewers, but Yahoo doesn’t exactly have a great record with streaming content. By Yahoo’s own admission, the company lost millions of dollars on original programming with Yahoo! Screen. Hulu was a very strong deterrent to piracy simply because it was so easy to use and it required no commitment or money. It should be interesting to see if Yahoo View can fill that role in the weeks and months ahead.

What do you think about Hulu’s new strategy? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo Credit: Hulu