One of the newest bastions of free online content will probably soon fall as online television program site Hulu will probably start charging for content in 2010, News Corp. executive Chase Carey said on Wednesday.
Carey, who serves as deputy chairman, president, and COO of News Corp., told an audience at the Broadcasting & Cable OnScreen Summit that the free model makes it difficult to capture the value of content, and that a subscription model is required.
Carey's comments were first reported on the Web site of Broadcasting & Cable, a publication focused on the broadcast industry.
B&C wrote that Carey said that it is important for Hulu to deliver content to consumers in such a way that they will appreciate the value of that content, and that means implementing what he called "a meaningful subscription model."
Carey, who was appointed to his position at News Corp. in June, said he has only had one meeting with Hulu's board of directors, and so he is not able to discuss the timing of possible decision to charge for content. However, he said that it will be likely in 2010, Broadcasting & Cable wrote.
He also said that such a pay model would not likely apply to all the content at Hulu, but that it would probably include specially-created content and TV previews, Broadcasting & Cable wrote.
Response to Carey's comments on the Web site were mainly negative. Some readers wrote that they watch television shows on Hulu only occasionally, while others complained about the poor quality of the video.
One reader, "mwebb," reminded Hulu that there are alternatives if it starts charging for content.
"This sucks. Good job Hulu, start charging and you will see your traffic die fast. This will make people by more DVR's or turn to torrent sites," mwebb wrote.