Free video website Hulu is trying its hand at a paid subscription model, unveiling a monthly payment plan called Hulu Plus that will give users access to full seasons of everything from Glee to The Office.
Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar said on Tuesday that the service would be priced at $9.99 a month and be made available on Apple Inc devices iPhone, iPad and iTouch; Samsung Electronics Co Ltd televisions and Blu-ray players; and, eventually, Sony Corp's PlayStation 3.
Next year, Hulu said, the service would be available on Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360.
Under the widely anticipated move, reported by Reuters and others earlier this month [ID:nN0899538], users will still be able to watch TV shows and movies on Hulu.com for free, Kilar said in a blog post.
He said the subscription plan would make available full seasons of current TV shows, as well as back seasons of hit programs like Arrested Development and The X-Files. He described Hulu Plus as incremental and complementary to the existing Hulu service, which offers a limited number of TV episodes that can be watched over a PC.
We believe that any lasting solution to the challenge of making TV show discovery and viewing dramatically easier has to work for all three of our customers, and those are our end users, our advertisers, and our content suppliers, Kilar wrote.
Hulu -- which is owned by Fox owner News Corp, General Electric Co's NBC Universal, ABC owner Walt Disney Co and Providence Equity Partners -- generated an estimated $100 million in advertising revenue last year. But like all media companies, Hulu is trying to strike a balance between paid and advertising-supported content.
CBS Corp is the only major broadcast network without an ownership stake in Hulu. The company declined to comment on whether it would participate in the paid service.
Hulu is embarking on crowded territory occupied by Netflix Inc, and cable companies Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc which are touting TV Everywhere convenience that allows people to watch shows on demand for free and on any device provided they are already paying customers.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)