Hulu May Start Charging a Subscription — on the iPad

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hulu may charge a fee on the iPad.

    C'mon, we all know that Hulu is too good to be true. It's a site run by three of the biggest names in broadcast television — namely NBC, Fox and Disney — and as such the companies are always split between the idea that Hulu is taking viewers away from the TV or that users are getting a free ride. The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, though I know if Hulu went under I wouldn't spring for cable — I'd just do more of something else.

    To help make Hulu easier to swallow, however, the aforementioned big three are allegedly trying to figure out how to implement a pay service while keeping the core website free. The idea on the table? Take it to mobile markets. Google, after all, has put YouTube on pretty much every platform known to man.

    So, yes, the iPad doesn't support Flash. Let's go ahead and just put that aside, as Hulu engineers would figure out a way around it soon enough. The prevailing wisdom right now is that it wouldn't be as hard to bring the content of Hulu to a device like the iPad, but rather it's the ads that pose a challenge. Without the ads, the only option left is a subscription model. If NBC, Disney and Fox wanted to bring a mobile version of Hulu free to the masses, the companies would have already.

    Nothing is official yet, but, according to All Things D's Peter Kafka, Hulu execs are playing with the idea of making Hulu free for those who just want to use the site, and charge a premium for those who use it as a "three-screen solution:" meaning your computer, TV (which would involve you hooking your computer up) and a mobile device, which would include the iPad.

    Personally, I don't think I'd spring for a premium version of the service, but maybe I'm not addicted. How about you, dear reader? Would you pay a regular fee for the ability to watch Hulu on the iPad? How about mobile devices in general? Sound off in the comments, and let us know..

    (It's worth noting that while the iPad will have an option for 3G, it doesn't really fall within the definition of a mobile device in the strictest sense.)

    Via All Things D