ADOTAS – It’s not just online journalism outfits that can’t make subscription services work: as soon as next week, Hulu will reportedly slash its “Plus” subscription fee in half to $4.95 — only a few months after debuting it at $9.99. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that users aren’t lining up in droves for the service.
As a second revenue stream to complement its ad-supported free site, Hulu Plus offers subscribers access to a larger library of content (including complete runs of off-air shows) and the ability to stream on Apple mobile devices, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game console and Internet-connected TVs.
But that limitless library of content? Pretty limited. Subscribers complained on Hulu’s blog the current episodes of still-running shows are available, but older episodes are not — studios are afraid of cannibalizing DVD sales and want to push up the price for syndication, something overexposure on Hulu could effect. In addition, the old shows only come from broadcast stations ABC, NBC and Fox. AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka noted that Netflix potentially offers more streaming TV content for a lower price.
Even at $4.95, I have my doubts about Hulu Plus’ viability. But in general, are video services just like editorial content — if users can get it for free, they won’t bother paying for convenience?