Hulu, one of the largest internet TV streaming services, has decided to put an end to its free offering – a component of the service over for about nine years. You’ll now have to pay to use the platform for your beloved TV shows.
There’s no word about the two tiers of monthly subscription rates changing, at $7.99 for limited commercials or $11.99 for completely ad-free. According to Hulu’s Senior VP and head of experience, Ben Smith, the reason for the change is because the limited free service falls short of everything the service now provides. “As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy,” said Smith.
The news follows the word (via Variety) that Time Warner snagged a 10% stake of Hulu just last week (joining the investment club between Disney, 21st Century Fox, and Comcast). Part of this deal was to bring a live-TV component to Hulu in 2017 provided by cable channels from its parent companies.
But not all is lost to those who oppose paying. To soften the blow, Hulu is partnering with Yahoo to continue the free, ad-supported offering of new TV episodes. It will consist of the five most recent episodes of shows primarily provided by ABC, NBC, and Fox (for eight days after their original air date), as well as some other series and miscellaneous clips.
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Hulu’s free service is said to be phased out in coming weeks. The new Yahoo site is now live, but only through the web in the US (with the promise of the corresponding mobile apps coming soon). Are any free users significantly impacted by this change? Will you continue to take advantage of free service via Yahoo? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!