Hulu (Again) Considers Monthly Fee

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How much is the experience of watching certain old shows online worth to the average person?  Well, Hulu's hoping the answer is "at least $5 per month."  A new report indicates that the site might try to charge a monthly fee for access to episodes that aired a while ago.

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Dawn C. Chmielewski and Alex Pham wrote this morning, "One plan being considered would allow users to view the five most recent episodes of TV shows free but would require a subscription of $4.99 a month to watch older episodes.  Hulu believes it will need at least 20 TV series - both current ones and those no longer on the air - to make such a pay service attractive to users."

From some perspectives, this wouldn't be a bad deal.  With iTunes charging a couple of bucks per episode, Hulu would have an edge so long as a person was interested in more than one or two clips.  Also, it's necessary to consider that buying DVD sets tends to cost a lot more than $5 per month.

Still, charging for something that used to be free is always risky.  And the five-episode window of free play, while nice, could act to increase the appeal of illegal videos, since it would give pirates plenty of time to get up episodes.

We'll see what happens.  Hulu's set no real timeframe with regards to implementing any sort of plan to increase revenue.

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