Jason Kilar, the CEO at Hulu made a number of notable announcements at the Hulu blog yesterday. First and foremost, Hulu Plus is coming out of preview mode and has now launched to the public. To mark this announcement, Hulu has slashed the monthly pricing of Hulu Plus subscription from $9.99 a month to $7.99 a month. Existing subscribers shall consequently be credited with the difference in the next billing cycle.
The latest move is definitely an aggressive move from Hulu to increase their share of paying subscribers. Apart from the slashed rates, the company is also bringing a number of other special offers to incentivize users to subscriber to the monthly plans
• One free week trials for all new subscribers. In addition, current subscribers who joined during the preview period will receive a credit for one week of Hulu Plus toward their next month’s subscription.
• Two free weeks of Hulu Plus for both current subscribers and friends they invite through our referral program. Subscribers can learn more by clicking on the “Referrals” tab on their Hulu profile page.
• 11 weeks ($20 worth) of free Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Sony BRAVIA connected TV or Blu-ray player through January 31, 2011. (See sony.com/huluplus.)
• One free month of Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Roku device through December 15, 2010. (See roku.com/hulu.)
If you are a Hulu subscriber with an iOS device, do not forget to check out their latest update as well.
Until now, you had to be a member of the Sony PlayStation Plus family in order to be able to watch videos from the TV streaming service over your gaming console. No longer; if you are in the United States. Sony has announced that this facility has now been opened up for all PlayStation 3 users in the country and that they do not need to be a PlayStation Plus user to avail the service.
This however does not mean you get to have all of this for free. Users must still sign up for the Hulu Plus subscription that is available at a price of $9.99 per month. So as I see this, the move is a win for Hulu in getting access to more paid members while Sony may now have to focus on other compelling aspects of PSN in order to get members paying up for the premium service.
Hulu Plus, the $9.99 per month subscription service that lets users watch TV shows online over a variety of internet connected devices is now available for everyone in the United States. The service launched in June of this year and has since then been available on an invitation basis. In a statement, Hulu has noted that the company has scaled up their services sufficiently in order to bring this service to everyone (Catch our earlier coverage of Hulu and Hulu Plus by clicking here).
The announcement also extends the Hulu Plus access to more devices including the Sony PlayStation 3. The subscription service was, until now, only available over the computer, select Samsung televisions, Blu-ray players and iOS devices. Access on more devices like the Roku set-top box and TiVo premiere DVRs is also expected to come from later this year. If you are a Microsoft XBox 360 owner, get ready to watch Hulu from early next year.
Peter Kafka from All Things Digital has revealed from sources that Hulu Plus – the premium subscription service from the television streaming service Hulu – could see an overhaul of its subscription plans that could bring down the subscription fee that is paid by customers down from $9.95 a month to $4.95 a month. According to him, the drastic drop in price is an indication of two things – that subscribers are not buying into the service as much as what the company may have wanted to and that the competition that has a better offering at the moment.
The second part is quite evident. For $8.99 a month, Netflix offers a much better deal that lets subscribers to get access to a wide variety of movies and TV shows that can be received as DVDs or be streamed over television, iPhones or iPads. On the other hand, the Hulu Plus offering is primarily limited to the content offered by Hulu’s owners – Disney’s ABC, GE’s NBC and News Corp.’s Fox.
Anyway, there is no word from official sources as of now. So we will still keep this in the rumor basket.
Google will be launching its new Google TV this month and according to a recent post on the company’s official blog, the new television platform will stream content from a number of content producers including CNN, HBO, CNBC and Cartoon Network. In addition to this, the new Google TV is also expected to stream movie and television shows from Netflix and Amazon Video-on-Demand.
Now, in a recent revelation, Junien Labrousse, the executive vice president of products at Logitech has noted that the television platform could also come integrated with Hulu video streaming. According to Labrousse, Hulu is at present blocking content access from Google TV and if the company’s negotiations with Hulu are successful, users should be able to watch TV shows from the ad-supported video streaming service when the new platform launches later this month. There have been speculations that Google TV could be hitting the shelves at Best Buy on October 17.
If recent rumors are to be believed, Roku media players will soon allow users to stream television shows directly from the Hulu network. According to reports, the two companies may have signed an agreement to bring the service to the new platform. It is not clear if this agreement, assuming it’s true, is an exclusive one, though that appears to be the most logical option.
While this rumor will definitely get Roku customers excited, it needs to be taken with a large grain of salt for the moment. For one, the Hulu management has for long opposed to such platforms citing lowering margins. That’s one primary reason why Apple’s negotiations with NBC for Apple TV streaming broke down. Under such circumstances, it makes absolutely no sense for Hulu to sign up a similar deal with Roku.
Nevertheless, with companies neither confirming or denying these speculations, we will have to watch out for how the news pans out in coming days.
As you know, Netflix recently released their movie and television show streaming application for the iPhone. With this, iPhone users have two really good alternatives to choose when it comes to watching movies on their iDevice – Hulu Plus and Netflix. So which of the two options works better?
Zatznotfunny looks into three elementary parameters – app launching speed, battery consumption and 3G experience and notes that Hulu Plus is marginally better than Netflix when it comes to the overall experience. The primary point of concern has been the launch speed of the Netflix app. According to the website’s review, Netflix takes as long as 18 seconds to launch from cold start while on a 3G network. Hulu on the other hand loads in less than 10 seconds. In terms of battery consumption, the website points out that Hulu Plus was marginally less taxing on the battery though the difference in performance were not very noticeable. Zatznotfunny also points out that Hulu Plus did a better job at keeping the video running over a 3G network.
Overall, it now looks like Hulu Plus is the winner. Have you used both the apps? Write down your experiences.
After a long dearth of tech IPOs, it looks like public filing of technology companies is back. Just in the past few weeks, we have heard about Demand Media – the popular content farm and Skype – the world’s largest VoIP service provider file for an initial public offering at the stock markets.
Now, the New York Times is reporting that Hulu could be the next company in line to file an IPO. According to sources, the company is in talks with investment banks to go public as early as the fall of this year. If true, this could be one of the more massive rounds of IPO filings this season. The video streaming service is noted to be worth over $2 billion. However, with falling traffic numbers and not so convincing monetization models, Hulu could be a recipe for stock market disaster if it fails to get back on track soon.
What do you think?
Folks at LifeHacker have put up some interesting ways to access Hulu – the popular American TV shows video streaming website outside the United States. As you may know, Hulu is bound by several content licensing agreements that prevent free access outside USA. Additionally, even users inside USA are not permitted to view content on Hulu on TV or mobile devices without paying a premium.
So how do you start accessing Hulu from outside USA? Here are some steps to follow in layman terms
Step 1 : Install Mozilla Firefox. Once done, visit this page to download and install the Modify Headers add-on
Step 2 : On the Firefox browser, click on Tools -> Modify Headers
Step 3 : Click the drop-down box and select ‘Add’. In the first box, enter X-Forwarded-For. In the second box, enter the IP Address for Hulu.com which is 220.127.116.11. Leave the third blank empty and click the ‘Add’ button to save.
Step 4 : If you are a Windows user, follow these steps. Mac or Linux users can click here to follow the corresponding steps
Step 5 : You are done. You can now access Hulu from outside US. However, this process may disable Flash and hence remember to enable the add-on only while accessing Hulu.
I know media folks can be quite annoying. Imagine the likes of Rupert Murdoch from not one, but three firms – NBC, Fox and ABC breathing down your neck and demanding for more money. That’s surely not a dream job for anyone wanting to be a CEO. But that’s exactly what Jason Kilar at Hulu does for a living.
So it comes as no surprise that Hulu will be carrying ads on their $10 a month premium service named Hulu Plus. Now, as if that wasn’t enough, speculations are doing the rounds that there could be an additional payment option for users looking to remove ads from what is already a premium service.
As always, this news is not confirmed as yet. But as I said earlier, this does not surprise me given that Kilar has to answer bosses from three media companies at the end of every quarter.