Acting Hulu CEO sees potential ad-free service

At some point, Hulu could offer an ad-free online video service that asks subscribers to pay a premium to avoid commercials, Hulu's acting CEO Andy Forssell told investors at Goldman Sachs' annual Communacopia conference last week.

An ad-free service could stand alongside Hulu's existing products--the free ad-supported Hulu and the $8-monthly Hulu Plus, which contains fewer commercials. "I love the idea of choice, long term," Forssell said. But he added the company's roots are in developing better advertising technology, and that will continue to be a focus. 

Forssell also discussed Hulu's original content acquisition strategy. He said that despite online distributors such as Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) buying more programming, Hulu hasn't seen the market for acquiring original shows get more competitive. Hulu hasn't found itself in bidding wars, in part because of the content it's looking to license, he said.

"If you look at the digital entrants, we all have different approaches," he said. "Netflix has stepped in and ended up in bidding situations against some larger networks. Amazon has come at it from a more crowd-sourcing perspective," he said.

Hulu's approach has been different, he said. "We've gone after talent where we think we can make the difference," he said. "I can't think of a situation yet where we have bid against someone."

For more:
Variety had this report

Related articles:
Hulu licenses BBC shows 
Netflix to boost spending on originals, updates 'Long Term View' 
Hulu buys series from Lionsgate, licenses Jim Henson shows

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