Would you pay to use Hulu?

Are you willing to pay for Hulu?

If all goes according to plan, it’s possible Hulu will either move entirely to a paid subscription model, or add some type of fee-based service alongside the current Hulu web site.

The idea comes from Jon Miller, News Corp. digital initiatives chief executive who will sit on the Hulu board of directors.  Along with News Corp; NBC Universal, Disney, and Providence Equity Partners own Hulu, and must consider very carefully how it will move forward if it wants to start charging viewers.

Exact plans haven’t been revealed by Hulu yet, but all signs are pointing towards a paid model — possibly before the end of the year.

Would you pay to use Hulu?
In April, Hulu’s video viewership increased from 380 million up to 397 million from the month before, a 4.4 percent increase.  The growth rate lacked the even more impressive growth Hulu saw each month since January.

As much as I like Hulu and the great content posted on the site, I think it’s still too far in the company infancy to try and begin thinking about rolling out paid models.  The single ad that the site plays per commercial break is little enough advertising to keep viewers coming back, and many of them would likely leave if the site moved entirely to a paid subscription.

Previous surveys indicate viewers will be less likely to pay for a PC-based service if they know it’s possible to get the same content via their cable subscription.

"To try to monetize a video site through the consumer is going to be hard," Gartner analyst Amanda Sabia recently said in an interview with InformationWeek.

If Hulu wants to test the waters with a paid subscription, then they could possibly charge a flat rate for viewers looking to watch TV series that are no longer on cable television or on-demand.  It’d be a good precursor before attempting to offer movies and live content directly to subscribers who may not be willing to pay at the moment.