updated 11:30 am EST, Fri February 19, 2010
Hulu may be pay only beyond the web
Hulu's iPad-native player may come with a paid subscription attached, leaks hint today. The normally free web service would carry a rate to help prop up the presently cash-negative company and may include extras to make the subscription worth the investment. One studio executive, however, tells AllThingsD that access to Hulu beyond a computer may be considered enough.
It's also explained that any expansion into other devices, which could include other mobile hardware, is contingent on Hulu determining its business plan.
The streaming TV hub is already known to face a number of technical issues before it can get to handhelds like the iPad or iPhone. Without Flash, Hulu would need to either make a specific HTML5 website or a native app that accesses shows directly through a video format like H.264. If ads are still necessary, it would require using either more HTML code or an overlay to insert spots in between show segments.
Hulu has said in public that it wants to expand outside of its current format but has been under pressure from studios and TV providers to resist any moves that might make it easier to avoid more expensive but also more lucrative conventional TV, including attempts to ban Boxee from accessing the content outside of a web browser. Ad rates on regular TV channels are still typically much higher than on the web and consequently give networks like Disney or NBC little incentive to start a switch to the Internet, especially outside of computers.