Hulu has introduced $9.99 per month subscription ad-supported based service dubbed Hulu Plus for watching TV shows and movies on mobile devices, game consoles, television sets and computers. The paid version will offer full seasons of current shows plus seasons of shows no longer aired while the free version of the site will continue to offer fresh TV episodes.
The new $10-a-month service will offer the full current season of such shows as “Glee,” “The Office,” “House,” “Modern Family,” “30 Rock” and “Family Guy,” as well as all episodes of past shows including “The X-Files,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Roswell,” “Arrested Development,” “Ally McBeal,” “Heroes,” “Ugly Betty,” “Quantum Leap,” “Miami Vice” and “My Name Is Earl.” All told, about 2,000 episodes from 120 seasons of shows will be available for streaming.
According to a published report, Hulu’s paid subscription service may be offered on Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console. Using Hulu Plus apps, you can stream HD video content from Hulu to your iPhone, iPad, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, TV, etc. At present, the service is available only in U.S. Hulu’s subscription service, called Hulu Plus, gives users access to more than 45 full programs of everything from “Glee” to “The Office” for $9.99 a month.
The two parties are pretty darn close to signing their respective dotted lines that would give the currently registered 50 million PSN users access to a paid Hulu service expected to launch within the coming months. The paid service -rumored to be Hulu Plus and cost $9.95/month- will reportedly provide account holders on-demand access to a catalog of new and old TV shows from NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, Time Warner, and Viacom on a number of devices, including the Xbox360 and Apple’s iPad, according to Bloomberg.
Hulu is playing catchup with Netflix, which long ago bridged the gap between the Internet and the living room. Netflix is offered on a host of set-top boxes and Web-enabled TV sets, a list that includes the Roku box, Sony’s PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, TiVo DVRs, and Blu-ray players from LG and Samsung. Netflix may have jumped out to an early lead, but Hulu has the right backers: NBC Universal, Disney (the parent company of ABC), and News Corp. (parent of 20th Century Fox). In addition, recent reports from multiple publications indicate that Hulu may sign a licensing deal to obtain TV content from Viacom (home of MTV and Comedy Central), CBS (parent company of CNET), and Time Warner.
Support for the PlayStation 3 is expected soon, and Microsoft Xbox 360 support will be added in early 2011, Hulu said. The program will be added to Blu-ray players and TVs from Sony and Vizio in the fall. While there has been no official confirmation of a likely Sony-Hulu deal, sources have also informed Reuters that Hulu – which will soon start charging customers for the online TV service – will probably also expand the paid subscription service to other devices like the Microsoft Xbox 360 console and the Apple iPad.
In a blog post, Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar described Hulu Plus as “incremental and complementary” to the existing Hulu service. He said the subscription plan would make available full seasons of current TV shows, as well as back seasons of hit programs like “Arrested Development” and “The X-Files.”
Kilar wrote, “We believe that any lasting solution to the challenge of making TV show discovery and viewing dramatically easier has to work for all three of our customers, and those are our end users, our advertisers, and our content suppliers”. Hulu did not elaborate on whether the subscription service will eliminate the pre-roll videos users must sit through before watching a show on the free Hulu.com. Kilar did say, however, that advertisers allow Hulu to “keep our Hulu Plus price low” and Hulu offers “one of the world’s most effective advertising platforms, with the ability to speak effectively to users across a variety of devices, anywhere they happen to be.”