With all the fanfare surrounding Hulu after it’s launch (especially in the College scene) as a free LEGAL way to watch premium TV shows (movies are available too, but have traditionally been lackluster). As Netflix got serious about their “Watch Instantly” offerings, many people found themselves signing up for the $9.99/month because it brought many students armed with their existing xbox 360 to get quality content onto their TV’s in a way that wouldn’t have the schools IT department knocking on their door and/or turning off their bandwidth.
So what is Hulu’s response to the higher resolution Netflix offerings? Hulu has notoriously been a completely free offering which was monetized through targeted advertisements, so it was only natural that Hulu would try to have more users (or at least more active) by offering higher quality resolution video across more devices (read: iDevices), and that service came under the name of Hulu +. “Great!” you may be thinking, and at a price of $10/month for recent episodes presented in High Definition it sounds fair.. until you realize that they STILL HAVE ADS.
Hulu has proven more than once that they are driven completely by the content owners (read: taken by the balls), so much in fact that the content owners are arrogant enough to think that with the age of the internet, we as consumers are stupid enough to pay for ad laden content. Hulu is even on record for pleading with ABC to NOT launch their free application on the iPad that gives users access to recent, quality content without an added fee.
Recently, according to ComScore, Netflix has edged out Hulu in traffic across their domain. While ComScore is not a greatly reliable source for accurate information, their trending data is a great gauge for how consumers are voting with their dollars. Why isn’t Hulu absolutely CRUSHING IT with a freemium model right now? Hulu could easily be syndicating their Advertisement laden content across as many devices as possible at standard definition, with an upsell of advertisement free and higher resolution content. In the Internet age, customers are voting that with ads the content should be free, and with a fee it should be high quality and delivered without advertisements.
Freemium is an amazing way to drive user base, upsell opportunities and other revenue generating procedures that continue to drive value for the consumers in exchange for their usage and/or their dollars.