Hulu turns free, ad-supported video platform over to Yahoo

Launching this fall, Yahoo View will provide the last five episodes of ABC, NBC, FOX (8 days after original broadcast) and other network sitcoms, day-after clips, and full seasons of anime and Korean dramas. Hulu’s version of this free, ad-supported service will be phased out over the next few weeks, the company said. 

Hulu will now concentrate on its subscription-based services.

"For the past couple years, we've been focused on building a subscription service that provides the deepest, most personalized content experience possible to our viewers," says Ben Smith, Hulu senior VP and head of experience, in a statement. "As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy.”

Last week, Time Warner Inc. announced that it’s paying $583 million to acquire a 10 percent stake in Hulu, which now serves around 12 million subscribers. Hulu is in the process of ramping up a live-streamed pay-TV service, targeted to launch next year. 

With analyst Richard Greenfield forecasting Hulu’s losses to potentially reach $1 billion next year, non-performing operations are clearly liabilities. 

However, Yahoo's new owner, Verizon — which has made development of mobile video platforms a priority — could see value in that ad-supported platform. 

“Video is an important part of Yahoo’s strategy, and we’re committed to delivering the best digital video content to our users,” said Phil Lynch, VP and head of media partnerships for Yahoo, in a statement. “To date, we’ve streamed amazing experiences across sports, finance, and news. This partnership with Hulu is a natural extension of that strategy, bringing the best of TV & entertainment content to our lifestyle vertical.”

For more:
- read this Yahoo press release
- read this Hollywood Reporter story
- read this Variety story

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