Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hulu Plus Cuts Its Price, After All–By $2

Hulu, which had considered cutting the fee for its premium service in half, then launched out of beta at full price, has gone ahead and cut it after all–by 20 percent.

In a blog post announcing the move, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar doesn’t explain the rationale for the price cut, which comes less than two weeks after the service’s formal launch.* So feel free to make your own guess.

But the announcement highlights the core tension facing Hulu, which is jointly owned by Providence Equity, GE’s NBC, Disney’s ABC and News Corp.’s Fox: The best move for the online service is often at odds with its owners’ strategies for their businesses.

In this case, Kilar has been pushing for a price cut while the networks have been trying to effectively establish higher prices for their programming, in the form of new fees they’re demanding from cable providers (see: Fox. v. Cablevision, etc).

The new $7.99 per month price should make Hulu Plus more competitive with Netflix, which offers DVD rentals along with all-you-can-eat streaming for $8.99. So will another move to add more programming from NBC Universal, which Netflix got access to in September.

Hulu Plus is supposed to appeal to customers who want access to a deeper catalog than Hulu’s free service, and who want to watch the shows via devices like Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Xbox 360–all of which support Netflix.

Hulu says it will provide $2 credits to existing Hulu Plus subscribers who signed up during the trial phase this summer, and is also offering a few other promotional bells and whistles to push the service. From Kilar’s post:

One free week trials for all new subscribers. In addition, current subscribers who joined during the preview period will receive a credit for one week of Hulu Plus toward their next month’s subscription.
Two free weeks of Hulu Plus for both current subscribers and friends they invite through our referral program. Subscribers can learn more by clicking on the “Referrals” tab on their Hulu profile page.
11 weeks ($20 worth) of free Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Sony BRAVIA connected TV or Blu-ray player through January 31, 2011. (See
One free month of Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Roku device through December 15, 2010. (See

*Hulu points out that Hulu Plus only formally came out of beta today; two weeks ago it dropped the invite-only requirement for the service.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald