Yikes: Hulu flirts with, yes, having you pay to watch it.


Hey, remember Hulu.com? It was a Web site that sort of came out of nowhere, and offered streaming TV shows from NBC and other networks. It was ad-supported, and free. People liked it. And then, one day, in October, 2009, a completely bonkers TV executive all but killed it with one sentence: “It’s time to start getting paid for broadcast content online.”

Those are the words of News Corp. Deputy Chairman Chase Carey, uttered at some sort of broadcasters pow wow.

The idea that News Corp. (and the other broadcast execs) expects to be paid for something that travels through the air 100 percent freely, and has for decades is, that’s right, ludicrous. And I’m referring only to broadcast content here. Shows like The Office and The Simpsons, and not Curb Your Enthusiasm or Weeds. Ads pay for the broadcast shows, and that anyone expects us to pay for those shows again! Ha!

It’s like this: Hulu already runs ads. I’m not gonna pay for access to the site when there’s already ads on there.

Never mind the fact that people only put up with the ads because the site is a convenience. “Sure, I’ll put up with a few ads so long as I can watch 30 Rock in between CrunchGear posts.” Otherwise, yeah, I’ll head right back to alt.binaries.multimedia and start downloading away. No ads there, and in 720p!

I mean, was I stealing all those Seinfeld reruns or 24 (aka the Jack Bauer Power Hour) when I had an HDTV antenna hooked up to my TV? I don’t recall paying to watch those shows; that’s what the ads were for!

In essence, charging for Hulu is a one-way to Irrelevant Town. I don’t care either way, seeing as thought I really haven’t watched TV for several years now (outside of live sports).