Hulu adds premium service, expands distribution channels

For years, Hulu has been the great white whale for content
streaming devices. Virtually everyone has tried to lure the service beyond its
PC roots, with no success.

That changes today, with the introduction of Hulu Plus, a
new premium subscription service from the site. For $9.99 per month,
subscribers will be able to access a full season’s worth of their favorite TV
shows, rather than a select handful. As part of the rollout, Hulu has also
announced it will begin streaming Hulu Plus on a variety of Internet-enabled
TVs, Blu-Ray devices and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 over the coming months.

The free Hulu service won’t go away, as some feared. Hulu Plus is being built on top of the existing platform.

Hulu Plus is not a replacement for,” said CEO
Jason Kilar in a
post on the company’s blog
. “Hulu Plus is a new, revolutionary ad-supported
subscription product that is incremental and complementary to the existing Hulu
service. … As a Hulu Plus subscriber, you’ll now also have access to back
seasons or full runs of some of TV’s greatest shows. … It’s a treasure chest in
the cloud for TV lovers.”


Having to watch ads on top of the monthly subscription
model may not sit well with some customers. The company is rolling the product
out at a moderate pace – via invitation only
– so it may be a while before it hears a conclusive reaction to the

When it comes to snagging one of those invites, by the way, Twitter followers and Facebook fans have an advantage over the
rest of the population, the company says.

“We’ll be sending out as many invitations as we can each
week, and as soon as we’re ready, we’ll remove the need for an invitation and
start bringing in new subscribers without delay,” wrote Kilar.

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