Hulu ready to see how pay TV works

A wise man once said there's no such thing as a free lunch. It's becoming more evident that there's also no such thing as free content. Hulu, the renowned "free TV" service is reportedly ready to bite the bullet and admit what cable and satellite providers have known all along: free is not a viable business model.

Hulu in this instance joins the now-ubiquitous YouTube which, according to the same reports, has also started to experiment with pricing models. Starting May 24 Hulu will experiment with a $9.95 payment charge for programming on its Hulu Plus premium service to see what users are willing to cough up for programming from its three owners: News Corp., Disney and NBC. The kicker, of course, is that Comcast purchasing NBC could change the whole dynamic.

The service would let viewers watch the five most recent episodes of certain shows for free and pay for a subscription to older episodes. Hulu, so far, isn't saying anything about pricing but one analyst added this thought: "$9.95 is a lot less than the average $60 most cable companies charge for a standard cable video package."

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