Friday, June 4, 2010

Cable Can Succeed As Hulu Fails

As Hulu tries to reinvent itself as a subscription service, it loses its foothold on the consumer. "Hulu, the free online TV hub, may be coming to Microsoft's Xbox gaming console soon as a subscription service. Microsoft plans to unveil the deal with Hulu at its E3 conference on June 14, according to tech blog Gear Live." A subscription service, despite where it is offered, causes the consumer to reconsider the value proposition.

At that point, it opens the door for cable to come in with its content and provide added (free) value by offering it online. Such is the case with Comcast which is offering its Fancast service as the opportunity as an authenticated customer to watch programming across multiple screens.

Customers that cut the cord are looking for other distribution platforms beyond cable that offer them the content they desire at a more reasonable price point. And while Netflix's subscription service provides tons of movies, both as streams and DVDs, a Hulu subscription requires the consumer to reassess its value over what cable offers with on demand, DVR, and online and what else is available free to watch over the web.

Will consumers buy Hulu? I strongly doubt that they can convert themselves from free to pay and compete. There is too much free content still accessible to consume. Has Hulu outlived its usefulness - perhaps!

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