Hulu and Yahoo Expand Partnership to Tackle Netflix
Hulu has been in existence for nine years. Nine years the service has been providing free online streaming of popular network TV and movies, and more recently dipping into original programming, with a few commercial breaks for viewers.
That free tier of service will soon be coming to an end soon. Announced this week, Hulu is moving to a strictly paid subscription model. While that news may be a bit disconcerting to Hulu’s free viewers, the announcement also notes that Hulu and Yahoo will be partnering to create a new online streaming tool; Yahoo View.
With Yahoo’s pending acquisition by Verizon, and their recent history with Yahoo Screen, the new endeavor sounds a bit risky. Hulu will remain its own entity, but the TV shows previously found in the free tier will now be available at Yahoo View.
Notably different for Yahoo View is an integrated Tumblr blog/reblog button for viewers. Tumblr was purchased by Yahoo years ago and boasts over half a billion monthly users. That’s a large social media outlet ready for use. Yahoo and Hulu have obviously taken lessons from Netflix’s ability to master the hashtag game and get users sharing their interest in properties. At the same time, Tumblr and Twitter are totally different creatures. Social media managers across the globe are going to be watching what happens with the new venture.
The move to shutter the free service at Hulu comes following a traffic plateau for the resource against rising paid subscription numbers. Those numbers are still (dramatically) lower than Netflix’s subscriber base, but Hulu hopes the Yahoo partnership will draw in new viewers in more markets.
Given time to succeed, its ability to build on the community aspects of Tumblr, and finding its own niche, Yahoo View could very well be a service to supplement Netflix’s content lag. Now if they could do something about those commercials.