Friday, October 16, 2009

Will Hulu Save Or Destroy Traditional TV

Hulu is a change agent. Full programs, not just clips, to the viewer provides an alternative to TV viewing. So is it complementary or a predator? The answer is that it depends. Will consumers stop purchasing cable TV subscription because their online subscription provides enough viewing or will consumers recognize that it is not an either or decision and will ultimately consume both.

TV Everywhere is a concept designed to take that choice out of the consumer's hands. It says that only cable subscribers get access to viewing content on other platforms; one must be authorized through cable to get access on the other devices. Hulu currently does not work under the TV Everywhere concept. It offers free viewing, most with less commercials than current cable inserts. So there is an added appeal to switch.

Will Hulu change to a subscription model? Will consumers buy one without the other? Or will Hulu adapt to a TV Everywhere mode and get authorized access via its cable partnerships. If Hulu can get an incremental fee from the MSOs, that seems like a likely route. At the same time, Comcast has created Fancast, a Hulu wannabee. Change is in the air.

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