Hulu: Still Committed to Free Content

Hulu has shot down reports that it planned to start charging users, at least for the majority of its content.
 
News Corp. deputy chairman Chase Carey (shown) was quoted at a conference today saying the video service would be charging users in 2010, though “some” content would remain free. News Corp. is a part owner of Hulu.
 
“I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value,” Carey was quoted as saying by Broadcasting & Cable.

A Hulu rep said the company’s strategy of offering high-quality content supported by advertising remains unchanged, while leaving the door open to adding paid content.
 
“Hulu’s mission has always been to help people find and enjoy the world’s premium, professionally produced content,” the rep said. “We continue to believe that the ad-supported free service is the one that resonates with the largest group of users and any possible new business models would serve to complement our existing offering. There are no details or time lines to share regarding our future product road map.”
 
Hulu has been touted as a major success story for ad-supported content online, offering TV programming from the likes of Fox, NBC and Disney.
 
News Corp. has been a major proponent of moving to paid models instead of relying solely on advertising, with executives often pointing to the success The Wall Street Journal has enjoyed.
 
This is not the first time one of Hulu’s media owners has spoken, apparently erroneously, of the company’s plans. At the All Things D Conference in May, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker said Hulu might “become an ad agency, and that’s something we’ve talked about.”
 
A Hulu rep subsequently said it had no plans to get into the agency business.