B&C: Hulu to Charge in 2010

By Claire Atkinson

News Corp. Deputy Chairman Chase Carey opened the B&C OnScreen summit to discuss where he sees the business going. “It’s time to start getting paid for broadcast content online,” he said. Carey said that while everyone cites the infamous Jeff Zucker quip that “We’re exchanging analogue dollars for digital dimes,” the industry continues to do exactly that. The strategy needs to be more than just fighting piracy and Google, he says.

“I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value,” Carey said. “Hulu concurs with that, it needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business.”

AdVerse had a quick chat with Carey too and posed the question, when exactly does Hulu start charging then? Carey, who says he’s only been to one Hulu board meeting since arriving at News Corp., suggests there is still no timeline but supposes it’s at least in 2010. Carey says that while throwing up a pay-wall around all content is not the answer, it doesn’t mean there wont be fees for some specially-created content and TV previews. Windows are just around the corner. American Idol audition previews anyone? Mobile Hulu is another potential way of making money.

So what changes if and when Comcast takes the NBCU seat at the Hulu table alongside News Corp. and Disney?  Comcast has very different thoughts about how to charge for online content. Carey sees the authentication strategy as a good first move, but describes it as defensive, and told me he doesn’t see how it creates additional revenue.

And then there are the regulatory hurdles facing a Comcast deal for NBCU which could result in a delay of at least a year before Comcast gets to really run the show.


Posted by Ted • Thursday, October 22, 2009 .