Hulu recently presented four new original series it’s producing to advertisers, to further accomodate the general shift in home viewing habits, as more and more customers are watching streaming content – but now the company is moving toward a new practice that will likely foster a loss of some of its current 31 million subscribers. The platform has historically been a free-for-all service, generating roughly $420 million in advertising revenue in 2011 – but now the company is reportedly moving toward requiring users to authenticate their accounts by entering in a pay-service account number from satellite or cable providers.
In Q4 2011, home entertainment streaming content was up 2.5% at $549 million, and the market brought in $4.45 billion as a whole. With physical video rental outlets like Blockbuster in serious decline, home streaming services will continue to grow, and the owners of Hulu, News Corp., Disney, Comcast and Providence are looking for ways to better capitalize on and to protect profits – and Hulu isn’t the only platform that will be requiring user-authentication – News Corp. owned Fox, as well as other Comcast services, will likely adopt the new login model.
Still, it will likely take some time to actually implement these changes, while streaming content providers are scrambling to figure out how to best monetize their shows. While the practice of having to enter an account number of a service a user pays for is technically not forcing a viewer to pay for Hulu content – the provider likely expects an initial drop in user base. Though, it’s unlikely Hulu will see the sort of drastic loss that Netflix experienced when it attempted to divide its services with the introduction of Qwikster.