Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hulu Plus Gets an Art House Upgrade With Criterion Collection

Hulu’s primary appeal is for people who want to watch TV shows on the Web, but the joint video venture does offer a selection of movies, too. Now that selection just got a bit bigger, and more appealing to cinephiles: The Hulu Plus pay service is adding some of the Criterion Collection’s art-house movies to its catalog.

Criterion specializes in classic movies from the canon of great directors–Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, etc.–and has about 800 titles digitized so far, many of which are also available via Hulu competitor Netflix. [UPDATE: I’m told that this will be an exclusive deal, and that the Criterion titles that Netflix does offer will expire this year].

Hulu Plus subscribers will initially get access to 150 Criterion films, including “The 400 Blows,” “Rashomon” and “Breathless.” Hulu says the movies will run without ad interruptions, but may feature ads before the films start; the free service will offer a handful of Criterion titles, which will run with ads.

Hulu, owned by Comcast’s NBC, Disney’s ABC and News. Corp.’s Fox (News Corp. also owns this Web site), introduced the Hulu Plus pay service last year. Hulu CEO Jason Kilar says the $7.99-per-month offering is on track to reach one million subscribers in 2011.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work