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Bob Iger says Hulu could become a paid service.

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I know this news is a little old, but I’ve been out of the loop for a few days.  Still, though, I haven’t seen this spreading on the Internet, and I figure it’s definitely worth getting out there.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said on July 22 that Hulu (a currently free online service for watching TV shows and movies) could become a paid service.  As of now, Hulu generates money though selling advertising, but Iger sees the possibility of charging for content instead.

Says Iger: "There’s plenty of room for people to spend money on things they’re doing online.”  Iger continued by saying, “We have ample evidence both in traditional media and in new media that people are willing to pay for quality, they’re willing to pay for choice, they’re willing to pay for convenience."  He also cited statistics that shows people are willing to pay $5 per hour for watching movies and 25 cents per hour for using the Internet.

Disney currently owns 25% of Hulu after buying into the site in April.  Aside from its venture into Hulu, Iger also says that Disney is working on its own site to offer movies, TV shows, and games to customers on a subscription. 

My thoughts?  Where do I start?  First of all, the attractiveness of Hulu has always been the content it offers for free.  I love the site and what it offers, but I also love the fact that it’s one thing I don’t have to pay for.  I’d hate to see that go away.  The flip side, though, is that I suppose we would see even more content available if distributors could offer programming for a fee.

Second, I know I’m not willing to pay $5 per hour watching a movie.  I can rent movies far cheaper than that, and buy them in the discount Walmart bin for around the same price.  Perhaps I’m willing to go out to the theater for $5 an hour (if we’re talking about a two hour movie), but I would never pay that price to stay at home and watch one on my computer.  After all, I pay $5 for an entire month of Netflix.

Finally, if Disney is working on its own subscription-based site, why can’t we put the pay-per stuff on there and leave Hulu alone?  I think the Disney site is a good idea, and it’s even something I would think about joining.  So maybe it would be a better idea to focus on that and offer a new service to customers.

What do you think?  Would you pay for Hulu?  How much would you be willing to pay to watch a movie or TV show online?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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