Hulu Goes Exclusively Subscription-Based as Free Streaming Moves to 'Yahoo View'

Hulu today announced that the company is ending the free, ad-supported tier of its streaming service and focusing on an all-subscription model that will more closely align it to rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime (via Variety). Hulu's free service -- which let users watch the most recent episodes of shows after they aired live on TV -- will still continue, but is being transitioned to a new platform called "Yahoo View," thanks to a distribution partnership between Hulu and Yahoo.

In the free-to-use site Yahoo View, users will be able to watch the five most-recent episodes of shows from networks like ABC, Fox, and NBC, but will now have to wait eight days after they originally air. Yahoo View will also provide clips previewing upcoming episodes and entire seasons of anime and Korean drama series. Users can expect Hulu's free service to be phased out "over the next few weeks."

yahoo view with hulu
Hulu senior vice president Ben Smith said that the main reason behind the move was that the company's free service "became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy." With the elimination of the ad-supported tier, users will have just two options to watch Hulu: its basic $7.99 per month service with commercials, or a higher-tier $11.99 per month option without commercials.
“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.”
For now, Yahoo View is available only on the web, but the company said that mobile apps will be coming soon, although no release window was given. Since Yahoo shuttered its digital online video service, Yahoo Screen, earlier in the year, the acquisition of Hulu's former free content is expected to help bolster Yahoo's standing as a contender in the ever-expanding online streaming competition.

For Hulu, the move comes just under a week after Time Warner bought a 10 percent stake in the company to join Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast/NBC Universal as shareholders. Looking forward, Hulu is also prepping a live TV streaming service for sometime in 2017, which would add another subscription tier onto its streaming options with a service that focuses on quality over quantity, since the company "isn’t looking to offer all the hundreds of channels found in the traditional cable bundle."

Tags: Yahoo, Hulu


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41 months ago
Lol 8 days after they air. 2016 and they still dont understand how the internet works. Sad
Rating: 12 Votes
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41 months ago
Hulu is idiotic, they single handedly killed their company. For starters, ads on a paid tier and they claim to compete with Netflix? I'd just rather pay straight up for Netflix and leave Hulu to the dust.

The free tier is how Hulu started and it should re-evaluate their core audience (college students and cord-cutters).
Rating: 11 Votes
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41 months ago
Times change.

I pay for the "ad free" tier. Know how many ads I have watched since it started. None. Guess I just don't watch the like 5 shows that they fall into.

For my family it isn't a competitor for Netflix but compliments it. The two together we have plenty to watch with no need for cable.
Rating: 7 Votes
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41 months ago

Correct.

Are you aware of what cable companies do to justify what they charge? It's basically nothing. They run a cable out to your house and that's about all. Sometimes they have to fix it. They don't pay the companies that actually make the content - those companies have to collect what they can from ad money.

That is a grossly simplified statement.

I hate cable companies as much as the next guy, but the content producers charge a lot of money for distribution rights. For instance, Disney charges over $6/month to the cable company for just ESPN. Furthermore, Disney often requires cable company to bundle (at additional cost) less popular Disney contents for rights to carry ESPN. And let's not forget that it's these content producers that tackle commercials, not the cable company.

Heck, even free over-the-air local channels charge cable companies for distribution rights.

And in turn, cable companies require certain protections for agreeing to such term, which is why streaming services have ads, delays, and blackout for local sports team.

Furthermore, it is also why cable companies are buying contents left and right (e.g., NBC Universal and Comcast).
Rating: 4 Votes
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41 months ago

In this case, Hulu sold itself as a free (but ad sponsored) alternative to paying for cable. In other words, watch TV for free with just a weeks worth of lag. That is how it was started and what people actually wanted. Now we get a service that has to tiers, pay to view adds and pay to view no ads. Both involve no free tier which is what Hulu promised from the start.


And things change. Free tiers don't really make money and they are a waste of time. Spotify's paid users are pretty much subsidizing the free tiers, for example.

Netflix is the most successful streaming service with no(zero, zip, nada) ad-supported free-tier. Almost every person I know has some access to a Netflix account, including college students. As a for profit company, free tiers are was a waste time, money, and energy. Private companies aren't charities.
Rating: 3 Votes
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41 months ago

Hulu is idiotic, they single handedly killed their company. For starters, ads on a paid tier and they claim to compete with Netflix? I'd just rather pay straight up for Netflix and leave Hulu to the dust.

The free tier is how Hulu started and it should re-evaluate their core audience (college students and cord-cutters).

Using your logic, cable should also have no ads since you paying $80 a month.

Netflix also doesn't really have a lot of current stuff, and the licenses to get current stuff are expensive. For the same amount of people complaining about ads on the first paid tier, there would an equal number complaining if Hulu Plus' base price was $13-$15 a month.
Rating: 3 Votes
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41 months ago
Netflix and Hulu are two different type of streaming service. Netflix doesn't have current tv shows while Hulu has a bunch of current tv shows with latest episodes, that's the major difference.
Rating: 3 Votes
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41 months ago
No great loss. They're going to be losing CW and Criterion soon so their service will be even more worthless. And their live tv streaming service that is due to launch next year will be dead on arrival. They will be charging you for the space you use on their cloud DVR and you won't be able to fast forward through ads in the programs you recorded. And their plans will cost double that of those offered by Sling TV and Playstation Vue. All this information has been revealed in surveys they've given to users.

So it seems very appropriate that a clueless streaming service (Hulu) is teaming up with a clueless internet portal (Yahoo).
Rating: 2 Votes
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41 months ago

Correct.

Are you aware of what cable companies do to justify what they charge? It's basically nothing. They run a cable out to your house and that's about all. Sometimes they have to fix it. They don't pay the companies that actually make the content - those companies have to collect what they can from ad money.


Actually the cable/satellite providers pay carriage fees to the content providers (ESPN, TBS, USA, FX, etc) They sometimes don't pay fees to broadcast channels although that may be changing. They also bundle 50-80 crap channels that no one wants to fool you into thinking that they are giving you value for your money.
Rating: 2 Votes
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41 months ago

Hulu is idiotic, they single handedly killed their company. For starters, ads on a paid tier and they claim to compete with Netflix? I'd just rather pay straight up for Netflix and leave Hulu to the dust.

The free tier is how Hulu started and it should re-evaluate their core audience (college students and cord-cutters).

In all fairness, cable and satellite, as well as relative newcomers Playstation Vue and Sling, are also paid with ads. Way more ads than Hulu in fact.

My guess is that Hulu was either obligated by the content producer to display ads (as to make cable and satellite not too horrible in comparison) and/or show ads due to high content cost.

As much as many bring Netflix as an example of ad-free service done right, let's keep in mind that Netflix has vastly smaller TV catalog and most TV contents are delayed by a whole season or more.

Having said all that, I am not exactly defending Hulu's strategy here. I frankly wish Hulu would offer even higher tier service ($20/month) with live streaming with ads (if content is broadcasted on cable or satellite with ads) and no ads whatsoever on non-live contents.

As for Yahoo View, good luck with 8 day delay and limited to only 5 recent shows.
Rating: 1 Votes
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