Report: Hulu Planning Major Biz Model Shift

Many in the TV and digital media businesses have wondered whether Hulu—the joint venture among News Corp., NBC Universal and Disney—can survive long term. Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, the site is potentially mulling a radical business model change.

Many in the industry have wondered aloud whether Hulu Plus, the company’s subscription product, represents the company’s future rather that the model that has made it so popular: streaming top network prime-time series the day after they air (for free).

However, per the Journal, several of Hulu’s partners are considering pulling some or all of their top shows from the site—unless users pay for them in some fashion. Some have even discussed offering linear cable networks on Hulu—though only to paying subscribers.

The Journal notes that Hulu’s partnership has been tested numerous times over the past few years. As first reported by Adweek, tensions have risen between Hulu’s sales personnel and the staffs of its network partners.

And as Adweek reported recently, NBC executives irked Hulu when the network made a deal with Netflix to offer first-run episodes of Saturday Night Live the day after they air.

According to the Journal, that dustup led Hulu CEO Jason Kilar to contact former NBCU president and CEO Jeff Zucker.