The video streaming company Hulu has announced the ending of its free streaming service option after almost a decade of allowing non-members to watch a limited selection of shows and movies without paying.
The company is planning to offer a free trial period that enables the paid subscription tier for a limited time, destined to former users of the free mode. Alert messages will inform consumers about the new changes over the next days, according to Hulu´s senior VP and Head of Experience, Ben Smith.
The free streaming option was a game changer from Hulu
Soon after its foundation in 2007, the streaming service gained popularity for allowing users to watch programs and films without paying, a system funded by ads on Hulu’s website.
The catalog usually consisted of the five most recent episodes of shows such as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and South Park, eventually adding “Hulu´s original” series. However, the decision to eliminate the free option marks a departure for one of the company’s most notable aspects.
“FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS, WE’VE BEEN FOCUSED ON BUILDING A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE THAT PROVIDES THE DEEPEST, MORE PERSONALIZED CONTENT EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE TO OUR VIEWERS. 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” said Mr. Ben Smith about the changes.
Yahoo may carry on what Hulu´s leaving with a new partnership
The announcement came as a part of a deal between Hulu and Yahoo, product of the multinational´s change of ownership. Verizon has recently signed an agreement to purchase Yahoo for $4.8 million and has unveiled a new TV-watching site called “Yahoo View.”
The new portal will feature free TV shows from Hulu, and it’s scheduled to launch this fall with the most recent episodes from major networks such as ABC, NBC, and Fox.
Hulu seeks to beat Netflix and Amazon as the best streaming service
This new deal could signify that Yahoo is going to take a similar free-content approach, as Hulu did until now. The partnership seeks to compete with Netflix and Amazon, the current leaders of original streaming content.
After revealing a subscriber base of over 12 million back in May, Hulu is expected to have 67 million viewers by the end of 2016, according to eMarketer. The market search company also estimated Netflix with 126.9 million consumers and Amazon reaching a 73.2 million figure.
— Zachary Dill (@DillZachary) August 9, 2016