Hulu, at the behest of its co-parent News Corp, is going to start charging for content in 2010. This is not so good.
Here's the money quote from NewsCorpian Chase Carey, so there's no confusion:
It's time to start getting paid for broadcast content online. I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value. Hulu concurs with that, it needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business
An optimist might interpret this as a move toward tiered access, or even the decidedly good addition of paid premium content, like HBO and Showtime. But read carefully:
It's time to start getting paid for broadcast content online
It doesn't get any less premium than broadcast content, which is exactly what Carey says we'll soon be paying for — sometime in 2010, he supposes. This is extra-extra-foreboding next to last week's statements about a paid Hulu from Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, highlighted by TVBizwire: "That's not an if," he said "that's a when." It was fun while it lasted, I guess.