Hulu on verge of losing more free shows?

hulu doubles revenue to 240 million in 2010 company logo

Hulu may be one of the most-watched online video services in the United States, but the service faces tough competition from the likes of Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon Video-on-Demand, and iTunes, not to mention on-demand offerings from cable companies. And according to The Wall Street Journal, Hulu’s founders haven’t been able to agree whether offering first-run television content for free is helping or hurting their business models. The result might be that some of Hulu’s owners may curtail the amount of free content they make available through the service, with Fox, Disney, and NBC Universal apparently leading the way.

The basic disagreement seems to be how the studios can make the most money from offering their content online. Hulu offers some content for free in an ad-supported form, but studios are concerned the free availability of that content erodes the content’s value in other media, whether that be subscriber-based or one-at-a-time sales and rentals through services like Netflix and iTunes, or in their ability to sell distribution rights to cable companies’ on-demand services. Hulu’s owners are also apparently disagreeing about how advertising sales are being handled on the service.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there’s even been talk of converting Hulu into a online cable service available only to subscribers. With some 20 million people apparently willing to pay every month for Netflix streaming, the days of free ad-supported online video services may be numbered.

NBC, ABC, and Fox launched Hulu back in 2008 primarily as a way to compete with Google’s YouTube online video sharing service and peer-to-peer piracy, and was the first online service to prove that traditional media companies could compete in the online video arena. By any measure, Hulu has been a success, although it’s subscription-based offers don’t seem to have resonated deeply with TV and movie fans.

If NBC Universal were to pull free content from Hulu, it may raise eyebrows amongst regulators and amongst consumer advocates. One of the only conditions imposed on the Comcast/NBC merger by the FCC would be that Comcast surrender NBC’s managerial role in Hulu, because regulators were concerned Comcast would use its influence to benefit its cable business and play hardball with competitors.

Features

Netflix’s latest price increase heralds the end of streaming’s golden age

Netflix’s recent price rise is just the latest in a string of signs that streaming’s golden age is nearly over. As more services enter the fray, content will be further partitioned, signaling the end of streaming’s good old days.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Mobile

Apple resurrects the iPhone SE with brand-new units starting at $249

Apple quietly started selling the iPhone SE again, at even lower prices than when it was discontinued four months ago. Brand new units of the 32GB version are on sale for $249, while the 128GB version is going for $299.
Mobile

Text up a storm with the best messaging apps for iOS and Android

These days, most people tend to favor digital messages over phone calls. We have the best messaging apps that allow you to share photos and documents, send text messages, and more with end-to-end encryption.
Product Review

Controversy has dogged the MacBook Pro lately. Is it still a good purchase?

The MacBook Pro is a controversial laptop these days -- and that's unfortunate. Due to some divisive changes Apple made to the functionality of the MacBook Pro, fans are more split. Does the 8th-gen refresh change that?
Apple

Want a MacBook that will last all day on a single charge? Check these models out

Battery life is one of the most important factors in buying any laptop, especially MacBooks. Their battery life is typically average, but there are some standouts. Knowing which MacBook has the best battery life can be rather useful.
Mobile

The best iPhone 6 cases for style and protection

No one likes a bruised Apple. Scratches, scuffs, and cracks on a new iPhone 6 are enough to ruin anyone’s day. Check out the best iPhone 6 cases and get some protection on that shiny new smartphone.
Mobile

Is 5G as fast as they’re saying? We break down the speeds

We take a look at the kinds of speeds you can expect from 5G when the networks roll out. Find out 5G compares to the last generation of network technology, what the minimum and maximum speeds will be, and what it means for us.
Mobile

Tizen 4 arriving on Samsung’s Gear S3 and Gear Sport smartwatches

Samsung is updating the Gear S3 Classic, Gear S3 Frontier, and the Gear Sport to the newest version of Tizen 4. Along with of some little tweaks to usability and quality-of-life, Samsung has added some new features.
Mobile

Mobvoi’s TicWatch E2 and S2 are the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches yet

Quality smartwatches don't have to be expensive, and Mobvoi's TicWatch is the proud paladin of that philosophy. Mobvoi's new TicWatch S2 and are both available for low prices from Amazon and Mobvoi's website.
Deals

Save up to $950 with the best smartphone deals for January 2019

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $950.
Mobile

Apple Pay coming to more top U.S. stores, including Target and Taco Bell

Apple Pay is the best way to pay on your iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple Pay support is being rolled out across the U.S. for a variety of top retailers, including Taco Bell, Target, Hy-Vee, and more.