Hulu has finally called it quit with offering free service to its viewers. Instead, the company has inked a deal with Yahoo to offer users ad-supported TV-streaming that will enable them watch five most recent episodes of shows from the ABC, NBC and Fox. All five episodes, according to Variety, will be streamed eight days after the original air date.
Going forward, the company will be offering an all-subscription model to people. This brings to an end nine years of offering its viewers ad-supported TV episodes since it was launched. Gradually, all free services/programs being offered by Hulu will be phased out; but users can still head over to Yahoo View to watch ad-supported delayed TV streaming.
Prior to this announcement, Hulu offered its viewers films and full seasons of hit series with limited commercials for $7.99 per month or commercial free for $11.99 per month. At the start of August, the company announced it had inked a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution to allow its viewers watch multi-award-winning series Homeland from the beginning.
“For the past couple years, we’ve been focused on building a subscription service that provides the deepest, most personalized content experience possible to our viewers,” Hulu senior VP and head of experience Ben Smith said in a statement. “As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy.”
Clearly, Hulu wants to compete with both Amazon Prime and Netflix—two online streaming sites dominating the field in terms of SVOD. In doing so, the company also took into consideration users who may not buy the idea of paying for subscription, and has therefore inked a deal with Yahoo. Hulu’s deal will in no small way boost Yahoo’s profile as it seeks to reposition itself after being acquired by Verizon.
“As a TV junkie and Tumblr fan myself, I’m personally excited to have one place that brings together the best of free TV and Tumblr fandom,” said Jess Lee, Vice President of Lifestyles Product at Yahoo. “Yahoo View is our first step towards creating a powerful community TV-watching experience, but it’s really only the beginning.”
“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 Lynch. “This partnership with Hulu is a natural extension of that strategy, bringing the best of TV and entertainment content to our lifestyle vertical.”
Yahoo View is already available in the US, with mobile web and mobile apps to be added pretty soon.
In 2011, Bloomberg reported that Apple was negotiating the purchase of Hulu—with analysts quoting $2 billion as the amount the Cupertino-based tech giant was willing to pay. Microsoft and Netflix were also named as companies interested in the acquisition of Hulu at the time.
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