Hulu Ends Free Streaming Service, Partners with Yahoo

By Alicia Young August 09, 2016

Calling all TV show binge watchers: if you depend on Hulu for your binge-watching, you should probably get in one last good marathon session. All good things must come to an end, and, unfortunately, its Hulu’s free streaming service’s time. The service is moving to an all-subscription model, eliminating the ad-supported services that users have come to love over the years. Thousands of TV episodes have been watched over the past nine years, and this free feature will surely be missed.

The move to being a subscription service results from Hulu’s need to compete with other services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The upcoming plans will offer users the option of subscribing for $7.99 per month with commercials or $11.99 per month without any ads. I would personally prefer to continue paying nothing, with sitting through ads being my only payment, but that’s just me.

Another new change coming to Hulu involves the launch of a live-TV service which will feature linear channels from its parent companies, including local TV stations. This a pretty cool development that will likely be used by many.

“For the past couple years, we’ve been focused on building a subscription service that provides the deepest, most personalized content experience possible to our viewers,” Hulu senior VP and head of experience Ben Smith said. “As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy.”

These changes are all a draw to Yahoo, who Hulu has just expanded its distribution deal with. Yahoo recently launched Yahoo View, now available in the U.S., which is a new ad-supported TV-streaming site with the five most recent episodes of shows from ABC, NBC and Fox. It will also offer other network shows and a variety of other options to choose from. The free Hulu service will be phased out over the next few weeks, making room for Yahoo View.

Hulu content promises to be a draw for Yahoo, especially now that it’s ending its own free service. Yahoo is now Hulu’s “preferred partner” for all of the episodes from the free service. Other services including Xfinity and People.com also carry free episodes from Hulu.

When discussing Yahoo’s move to TV shows, Phil Lynch, VP and head of media partnerships at Yahoo, said, “Video is an important part of Yahoo’s strategy and we’re committed to delivering the best digital video content to our users. To date, we’ve streamed amazing experiences across sports, finance, and news…“This partnership with Hulu is a natural extension of that strategy, bringing the best of TV and entertainment content to our lifestyle vertical.”

Yahoo partnering with Hulu is the most logical way to ensure that Yahoo View takes off. There is a lot of competition in the streaming services area, Netflix being only one competitor, and this partnership puts Yahoo in a good position to hold its own and find success. 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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