For months we have heard rumores that Hulu will eventually launch a paid service. Well according to News Corp's Depuity Chairman, Chase Carey, that move could come as soon as 2010.

At Forrester, we have detailed the need to launch an online subscription service for online video in our Reinventing the TV Industry report.  I've always thought Hulu with its passionate community of users would be in good position to launch this service.  However, looking through the comments on EW's link to the story, Hulu's equity as a "free service" could alienate users.  I've posted a sample of the comments below:

  • "Boo, break my heart. I’ll miss Hulu but there are other websites that do the same thing. I enjoyed Hulu but will not pay for shows. If I wanted to pay to watch TV I’d get cable."
  • "Total crap. They already charge us for their content by having tons of commercials."
  • "My New Years Resolutions: 1-eat healthier 2-exercise 3-delete Hulu from Favorites"

Certainly the comments don't reflect everybody's opinion, but they do illustrate the challenge web companies have in launching paid services.  In contrast, I consistenly hear friends rave about the "free streaming" they get from NetFlix (even though they are paying $10-30 a month).  A poweful lesson as more companies look to launch paid services on line that you may want to have your pay model in from day one..