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Hulu Free Streaming Service to End as It Hooks Up With Yahoo

Image: Hulu Free Streaming Service to End as It Hooks Up With Yahoo

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By    |   Tuesday, 09 Aug 2016 07:47 AM

Hulu's free steaming service is coming to an end at the same time it is expanding its distribution deal with Yahoo, including a new, ad-supported television-streaming site with recent shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox, Variety reported Monday.

The announcement comes after Time Warner revealed last week that it purchased a 10 percent stake in Hulu for $583 million. Hulu's free streaming service is expected to be phased out in a few weeks, noted Variety.

"For the past couple years, we've been focused on building a subscription service that provides the deepest, most personalized content experience possible to our viewers,' Hulu senior vice president and head of experience Ben Smith said in a statement, according to Variety.

"As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy," Smith added.

Hulu, which is jointly owned by Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and now Time Warner, has grown since it was launched in 2007, noted The Hollywood Reporter. Hulu, which now has 12 million subscribers, is competing in a growing streaming field led by Netflix, noted THR.

"Meanwhile, its free service has become a low trafficked product," said THR writer Natalie Jarvey. "That could be because Hulu has de-emphasized its free content. Navigating to the homepage without logging in currently redirects to a page that encourages people to sign up for a free trial. It takes significant work to find the free videos available behind that landing page, though they are available."

Forbes reported, though, that while Hulu looks for ways to fight against Netflix and  Amazon, ending its free streaming service marks a change from its original mission.

"They've been pushing the subscription tiers and shuttling people towards the subscription tiers for a long time now," said Steve Beck, a managing partner at consultancy cg42. "This clearly shows that they were not successfully migrating people from free to paid. They want to create a focus on paid, and not waste their time with a migration strategy."

Yahoo, which is in the process of being purchased by Verizon for $4.8 billion, is becoming Hulu's "preferred partner" for its current free service content, reported Variety. Comcast also offers Hulu's free content, along with Vulture.com and People.com.

"Video is an important part of Yahoo's strategy and we're committed to delivering the best digital video content to our users," said Phil Lynch, vice president and head of media partnerships for Yahoo, per Variety.

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Hulu's free steaming service is coming to an end at the same time it is expanding its distribution deal with Yahoo, including a new, ad-supported television-streaming site with recent shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox.
hulu, free, streaming, end
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Tuesday, 09 Aug 2016 07:47 AM
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