Hulu to Charge Users in 2010 B&C

Chase Carey, the deputy chairman of News. Corp -- which co-owns Hulu -- says the popular online destination that carries TV programming, will start charging users, probably as soon as 2010, B&C reports.

Noting that “It’s time to start getting paid for broadcast content online,” Carey added that “I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value. Hulu concurs with that, it needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business.”

Carey made his remarks at B&C's On-Screen Summit in New York on Oct. 21. He later told B&C's Claire Atkinson that not all content on Hulu would be behind a pay wall.

Interestingly, at the TVWeek Innovation360 Conference last week, Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, said that Hulu would eventually go to a pay model. "That's not an if," Bewkes said, "that's a when."  Looks like "eventually" is coming sooner than later.

More importantly, it indicates that a number of media executives at the very top of their companies believe that TV shows on the Web cannot just be given away, especially to those users who don't have cable or some sort of TV service for which they pay.

--Chuck Ross