US streaming TV service Hulu is ending its free, ad-supported service and launching a new site with Yahoo for free access to US TV programmes. Hulu will focus on its paid VoD subscription service going forward, which at last count had over 12 million subscribers. The company also plans to launch a live streaming service in 2017.
Ben Smith, Hulu senior VP and head of experience, told The Hollywood Reporter and Variety that the company is focused more on developing its own original content and personalised content service under the subscription model. The free service has become more limited, with many of the programmes also available on the TV network’s sites. Hulu will instead leverage the free platform through partners such as Yahoo and Comcast. Existing users will be offered a free trial of the subscription service.
The new ad-supported site Yahoo View will offer the last five episodes of series from ABC, NBC and Fox eight days after original broadcast for catch-up, as well as other network sitcoms, day-after clips, and full seasons of anime and Korean drama. The programming will tie-in with Yahoo’s Tumblr service where fans can connect with other viewers, and include features such as blocking spoilers on the extra content and a picture-in-picture view so viewers can continue to watch while browsing other content.
View.yahoo.com is available now in the US, and a mobile site and apps will be introduced soon, Yahoo said.