Hulu introduced a beta of its Hulu Plus service in June and for $9.99 per month users could join. The idea behind it was to bring more revenue in to the site and give Plus subscribers much greater access to back episodes, past seasons, and other exclusive content. According to a report by AllThingsD, the company may have overestimated what customers are willing to pay. So it’s going to try again at $4.95.
Movie-oriented competitor Netflix isn’t having this problem. At $8.99, the streaming service is attracting millions of subscribers. The difference: Netflix has more content, a better user interface, and is consistent. Though still in beta, Hulu Plus is notably lacking, missing key shows and films that are on the free site and failing to demonstrate the benefit of its premium price tag. We could not find shows like NBC’s Community on the PS3 version of Plus, a popular show that is available on the free site.
The problem likely lies in Hulu’s content providers, which seem to treat every show differently. Some shows are available the day after broadcast, some a week, others 17 days; some shows offer full seasons on Plus, others don’t. Often, programs and films will appear and vanish from the site with rapidity. How can Hulu hope to get customers to pay when they don’t know what they’re getting for their money?