Want Hulu on Your iPad... as a Subscription Service?

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MediaMemo is hearing from "multiple people familiar with the company" that the networks behind Hulu, NBC, FOX, and ABC, are still contemplating a version of Hulu for Apple's iPad -- but as a subscription service.

The problem is figuring out a way to keep the existing site free while adding new bells and whistles that consumers pay for. One idea the company and its backers like: Turning Hulu from a “one screen” service–one you’re only supposed to watch on your computer–to a “three screen” offering by adding support for TVs and mobile devices.

The "problem" is Big Media still thinks it's 1960 and fails to show any understanding or imagination when it comes to re-invisioning themselves for 2010's mobile, portable, ubiquitously connected culture.

But whatever. Would you pay a subscription to get a premium version of Hulu on your iPad?

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Want Hulu on Your iPad... as a Subscription Service?

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I'd pay a few bucks, but not much more than that. And I'd only pay if it was available over 3G. If it's only wi-fi, then I might as well get out my laptop.

I'm gonna have to go with no. I'm not in the habit of paying for things are usually free, i.e, network TV shows from iTunes or the Craigslist app for the iPhone.
My main purpose for having the iPad will be for iBooks and then casual browsing and internet when I don't feel like unplugging my MacBook Pro and taking it into bed with me.
But no, I would not pay for Hulu even if I could view it on my TV. But that's just me.
--Greg Braddock
Male Model Recruiter

I see nothing "premium" about a service which offers a repeat of what already aired on TV. I would stop watching Hulu the minute they asked for one red cent. Big Media has already forced most of us to turn to subscription TV (cable or Sat) by moving to the all digital spectrum. Now they are looking to squeeze even more money out of customers.

Yes, I would pay dearly to drop my cable company and watch only the shows I want when I want on the device I want. The technology is there, lets make it happen.
The counter side, if I'm only watching shows I want, how do I hear about new ones? Make your first couple episodes free, buy commercial time during sporting events, and maybe even, just maybe write a good show that people will talk about.

I think enough people would pay for Hulu access on the iPhone right now, and definitely for the iPad. I'm not sure I'm one of those people, though.
Some additional thoughts:
- HD video over 3G is probably not possible, so video quality over 3G would be lower quality anyway.
- In part because the iPhone OS doesn't and probably won't support Flash, Hulu can create a paid service for the iPhone OS without changing anything about its current online operation.
- The CNN and Esquire apps demonstrate that iPhone users are willing to pay for content that is theoretically available for free in a different form or on different hardware. And I believe a recent survey concluded that iPhone users are the most likely to be willing to pay for content.
- This is likely what Apple executives have been having meetings about with media companies and the print industry: to promote the iPhone OS system as a place where content providers can start to make money from their otherwise free (or rather ad-supported) content.

That would be a big NO. I can get all the shows in itunes anyway... why pay? What is the reasoning for this anyway? The only reason Hulu is popular is BECAUSE it is free and legal. Honestly, these people are making it MORE appealing to torrent a show then to download anything with all these stupid drm restrictions. Don't even get me started on jailbreaking...

It seems like all the companies who are trying to release things for ipad are trying to do it in a way to make more money than they do now, only problem is the consumer would rather save money than spend more and the companies should be aiming at charging less but to more people so that they get more revenue from volume. Would I ever pay $20-30 a month of NY Times on the ipad, hell no. Would I pay anything for shows from hulu on an ipad, hell no, I prefer to PVR them and watch them at my convinience that way. The ipad seems like it will fail if for no other reason than if the content is overpriced compared to what you can get the same content for now because noone will buy a device so they can pay more money than they do now. Its already bad enough that iphone data subscribers will need to pay extra for data for an ipad instead of being able to tether them. And don't get me started on the web experiance you get without flash (I agree flash sucks but bottom line is if you want to view the web you need it)

no way not another service. I cant pay for all this stuff. iPhone with a data plan. iPad wtih a data plan and my home connection plus my wifes iphone yea this stuff is not flying with me anymore. iPhones i can live with and thats as far as im going. My laptop doesn't have internet access via 3G and I'm fine with that. I dont carry it all the time with me and if I do its usually a good change I have access where IM at

I would rather have DOUBLE the advertisements of a normal TV broadcast than pay. Dear old media: [CENSORED]

Not that it'll be available in Canada... but if it were I'd consider paying a premium for it, sure. I don't pay for cable so a few bucks isn't a big deal.

How about I just get a tablet with Flash instead and watch it for free? How about that? How about that plan?
Isn't it becoming obvious why Jobby baby doesn't want Flash on the iPhone or iPad? He doesn't want users getting free content and free games.
Companies are excited about the iPad because they view it as a goldmine. That is inherently BAD for the consumer.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind paying for the app itself, maybe 9.99 if there was HD content(not this 480p crap) and the rest of the time it would be free. But if they want me to pay a monthly fee, it HAS to be full HD and they need to have live shows and same day availability, and be able to watch on your tv, in which case id drop cable. Cuz I don't watch much tv anyway. Otherwise, free is where it's at. Thank you.

If the quality over 3G is poor, I absolutely will NOT pay. If the service is more than about $4.00-5.00/month then I absolutely will NOT pay. If I can not ge access to more than the 5 most recent episodes I will NOT pay. If they include advertisments I will NOT pay. If they can somehow meet these requirements, I'll think about it.

People are only going to pay if content is exclusive or has extras added on.
I'll consider subscription magazines/newspapers too if they work better than a standard web page experience.

Keep it free. Like others I do not see anything special. I fear little by little we will see update fees on apps, slowly at first then one day we will forget the $0.99 and $1.99 apps. To be honest look how pricing has increased lately.

Seriously I got slingbox as well and it plays live tv on 3g wifi and edge it is very clear I can even play my netflix on it . Why would you need hulu . Makes no sense to me you can contol and play your DVR it is great and it is one price .

ummmm??? Am i the only one here who thinks they should just take commercials away from people who pay??
WTF is it with big corporate and their commercials?? sick of this @#@#!
I was with my friend the other day driving to lunch and he had Satelite radio... he was PAYING for it... and commercials came on.. i was like wtf???? don't you pay for this?

I find it funny that so many people say "hell no, I would t pay for subscription hulu" yet just as many people pay for netflix or gamefly. Me thinks people are a bit too knee-jerk than normal now-a-days.
For a large library of videos that I can access on my iPhone, mac, Pc, and possibly ipad or xbox or ps3? Yes, I'd pay for that. It would have to be a service that could cover nearly as many bases as Netflix currently can. But yes, I'd pay. I'd mainly be paying for quality and consistancy. If I cannot get good or great quality a majority of the time, or if I cannnot get a consistant viewing experienc, I'm out.

why can't it just be ad supported? Why, just because it's an Apple product do we have to jump through hoops? It's a computer, nothing special.

I probably wouldnt want to pay for it. At&t's service is soo spotty in NYC that i wouldnt be able to watch an entire episode of anything before it would stop buffering the video and have it tell me that i have no service. AT&t is so bad right now... i love my iphone so much but its getting to the point where I might have to get a palm pre on verizon

Hmmm Pay for something that I can watch for free at the hulu site....nah. If they do make it a subscription model as well for the website, they better remove the ads.

The Ipad looks like fun to play with, but I doubt if you can really work with it? But many people will buy it because of it look.

I think companies that put out good quality content should be paid! Try running your own company paying light , water, utility bills along with employee salarys ( I do it and it's not easy!). Yes hulu provides free content now but at some point will have to start making money to keep operating. Here is an idea: Cut off cable and start supporting independent good quality content providers like Hulu , TiPb, and No Agenda.

Smh @ all these people who just feel entitled to FREE FREE FREE, most of these people pay a cable bill in excess of 50 bucks a month, with commercials that make HULU look like a godsend, and people here say they wouldn't pay more than 5 bucks a month????
Really????
Honestly i'd take Hulu as is on my iPhone/iPad, and I wouldn't mind paying at all because Hulu has actually replaced my TV already @ home.

We're going through a period of history (let's say) where how access to content gets paid for, and who gets paid. In the past, some people have proposed a micro-economy, in which every time someone accesses content, that access is credited the author or generator of the content in the form of a micro-payment. The problem with the micro-economy idea is that we have no means of transitioning to it. So Hulu is "free," in the sense that it is ad-supported in a way that doesn't pay for itself (according to the content holders), and in the sense that people pay ISPs for generic internet access in a way that doesn't translate to content holders getting any of that money.
All of these companies that are threatening to make "free" services profitable are struggling with how to do make the transition. That's why they keep publicly suggesting that, any minute now, they're going to do something about it, but keep not doing anything.

When, on when will big media realize that the entire purpose of their high-budget programming is TO SELL PRODUCT. And you can't do that until you build in a fair & decent way to sell advertising. Big corps need media to sell their goods, and these corps have the $$$ to pay for lavish production costs & free viewing = more viewers. Forcing us to watch commercials is bad yet allowing easy skipping (DVRs) is bad too. Where's the creative solutions? Banners/product placement/etc?? There is a HUGE world filled with viewers who could have kept now cancelled shows live if the stupid networks would get these shows out there FREE w/ ad support that works! We now have plenty of global corporations (apple, sony, acer, mcdonalds, dell, nokia...) who could run ads with these shows to pay the $$$.
The consumer is gonna crack soon with these ipad fees: .99 music .99 apps $20/mo NYTimes $30/mo Hulu $29/mo ATT $20/mo WSJ ... yeah, I don't think so. It's America, bring on the commercials & display ads!!!

When, oh when will big media realize that the entire purpose of their high-budget programming is TO SELL PRODUCT. And you can't do that until you build in a fair & decent way to sell & display advertising. Big corps need media to sell their goods, and these corps have the $$$ to pay for lavish production costs & free viewing = more viewers. Forcing us to watch commercials is bad yet allowing easy skipping (DVRs) is bad too. Where's the creative solutions? Banners/product placement/etc?? There is a HUGE world filled with viewers who could have kept now cancelled shows live if the stupid networks would get these shows out there FREE w/ ad support that works! We now have plenty of global corporations (apple, sony, acer, mcdonalds, dell, nokia...) who could run ads with these shows to pay the $$$.
The consumer is gonna crack soon with these ipad fees: .99 music .99 apps $20/mo NYTimes $30/mo Hulu $29/mo ATT $20/mo WSJ ... yeah, I don't think so. It's America, bring on the commercials & display ads!!!

3G video blows. I'd only want in on my phone over wifi...wait till lte kicks in then video over the network wouldn't look like scrambled porn

If I could pay $20 a month for hulu I'd do it now! But sadly hulu thinks Canadians don't watch their tv, and they don't want our ad revenue!

"How about I just get a tablet with Flash instead and watch it for free? How about that? How about that plan?
Not a good plan. Tablet PCs pretty much suck - see this review:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100210/aponhite/ustecdigitallifetechtestarchostablet
From the same review, two telling quotes: 
"TV shows on Hulu.com stutter so badly they're like slide shows with a soundtrack."
"It's a little disconcerting that the Windows tablet experience is so poor, nine years after Microsoft made a big push for its Tablet PC version of Windows XP."

I know its pricey, but with SlingPlayer now able to stream seemingly perfect over 3G. Whats the point in paying for Hulu? If you want TV on your phones that bad, just get a SlingBox.

If you're willing to buy a SlingPlayer, then you're just paying for things differently. Your money goes to your ISP and cable company (unless you restrict yourself to free OTA broadcasts) and to Sling Media. Similarly, Tivo was a way to skip commercials and time-shift broadcasts by paying Tivo money, which reduced the value of commercial air time. That's why the cable companies wanted to sink Tivo.
Hulu itself is a kind of experiment, as a way of reducing the use of unauthorized means of watching video content and turning an internet outlet into a revenue stream. It was always intended to transition to a paid model in some way, however.

OK. Anybody else see a trend here?? First, you spend $800.00 for the pad. Then, hand over $30.00 a month to ATT. Next, pay for all the newspaper / magazine subs so you can read them. Now, we have to pay HULU to watch re-runs. All this while paying ATT almost $100.00 a month for the iphone. Hummmmm. I can buy a laptop for less. Get a 3G card for it for $50.00 a month, and get all that content free. Plus, have a real computer. Still don't see the point of having that thing. I will have to carry it AND my phone. Don't get me wrong, it's a great product. It just looks like Apple is trying to CREATE a market for it, instead of filling a void like the did with the ipod / iphone.

Similar to magazines -- if there is no significant content available on this subscription app that is not also available on the website, than absolutely, positively, unequivocally, no.
Moreover, if, like YouTube, there is some content that is available on the website that is not available on the iPad (i.e. because some content is not yet transcoded to h264 and only available via Flash), then it becomes absolutely, positively, unequivocally, HELL no.

For that past three months, I've been waiting for that DVD edition in the Frasier series. I'm still fourth in line at my local library to receive these so I was really excited to learn that I can Watch FlashForward Online.. My plan was to watch the DVDs within the train while commuting to and from work so I'm hoping I've World-wide-web access via the tunnels and stations on my route. My wife laughs about my obsession with this, but she is hooked on certain Television shows herself. I'm wondering if I ought to tell her that she can watch her exhibits online also.