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Hulu Plus debuts to masses with price cut

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 7:40am
Mike Robuck

Hulu's subscription service made its public debut yesterday with a lower monthly price than what was first announced back in July, when Hulu Plus was only available on a trial basis to a select number of customers.

Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month, which is down from the initial price of $9.99 when the long-rumored pay model was first offered by invitation only in July.

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar wrote on his corporate blog that the company will reimburse customers from the preview period for the pricing difference in the next billing cycle, as well as offer a free week of viewing for new subscribers. Current Hulu subscribers will get a  free two-week trial, as well as "friends" that they invite through the company's referral program.

NBC Universal, News Corp. and Walt Disney jointly own Hulu. Once Comcast's majority stake in NBC Universal clears its last hurdle later this year, the nation's largest cable operator will also own a piece of Hulu.

While Hulu has consistently ranked high in the number of videos viewed each month, typically trailing only Google-owned YouTube, the online video provider has struggled to turn a profit. Hulu's initial free model, which is still available but with limited shows, was ad supported. Rumors have also floated that Hulu is considering an initial public offering.

While Hulu is squaring off with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, traditional video providers are battling to keep subscribers within their respective realms. Verizon launched its Flex View mobile streaming service last week, while Comcast's iPad remote application was announced earlier this week. Both Comcast and Verizon are working on adding TV streaming to their respective services.

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