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Hulu Will End Its Free TV Streaming

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For almost a decade, Hulu has been one of the biggest homes for online TV. The day after many shows premiered on television, you could watch them on Hulu. Hulu offered several different subscription models, either with our without commercials, but you could also watch a lot of their programming for free. That is about to change.

Per Variety, Hulu is quickly moving to end its free streaming service. Soon you will need a subscription to watch shows on Hulu.

Hulu is focusing on subscriptions as it looks to ratchet up its competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime, its two key SVOD rivals. Hulu offers two subscription plans: $7.99 per month with commercials, and $11.99 per month without any ads.

I’ve been a Hulu subscriber for several years now; basically ever since I had to cancel my cable subscription after I got laid off from a job and needed to cut expenses. It’s been money well spent; my wife watches more than enough TV to justify it, and I enjoy the large selection of Criterion Collection movies. When Hulu added its $12 a month upgraded plan with no commercials, we made the switch and have enjoyed that option as well. People who’ve never paid for Hulu, though, will probably be very disappointed by this news.

There is a small silver lining here, though, which is that at the same time that Hulu is eliminating its free streaming, it is beginning to provide content to Yahoo! View, a new free streaming site. The site, which just launched, offers the five most recent episodes of from Fox, NBC, and ABC (offerings include MasterChef, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and The Bachelorette). So you might be able to find some of the shows you’re looking for there, for free.

But if you want the full Hulu experience, you’re going to have to pay for it. (Or have a cable subscription through one of the site’s partners, like Comcast.) This, I suspect, is going to be the standard more and more moving forward. Why give this stuff away for free when ad revenues are so scare? The future is all in subscriptions.

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