Attention, thrifty PopWatchers: It turns out beloved home of full-lengthy goodness Hulu is not going to start charging after all. A source tells EW that the site’s rumored pay structure would only be in addition to its free content, not instead of it. And a collective “phew” was heard ’round the Internet.
Ahh, sweet relief. I too initially balked at the idea of paying for Hulu, but at a certain point, there are definitely things I’d pay for: Premium content night-of (especially if it was à la carte and not subscription-based), a wider selection of shows, and maybe mobile compatibility. Once upon a time, everyone balked at the idea of paying for TV — uh, hello? It’s free over the airwaves! — but then cable came along, and it was worth getting, so people did. Lightning could strike twice or something, right? Everyone used Napster for a good long time to share music for free, but now plenty of people use iTunes and buy legal copies of songs and albums: again, we pay for some stuff.
Hulu’s main competitors aren’t other paid sites like Netflix (whose streaming options are great, but supplementary to the company’s main DVD model). The site’s rivals are the endlessly accessible — but not legal — video sharing sites. Yeah, lots are riddled with malware or garishly bedecked in noise-making panel ads, but those episodes go up almost immediately, and the breadth of content is almost unbelievable.
At some point, some content is going to show up online that we’re willing to pay for with money instead of attention or time. That day doesn’t appear to be today, though. Will you revel in continued freeness with me, PopWatchers, or has your skepticism taken over?