Hulu launched in 2007, providing free TV shows and movies supported by ads. Then, came Hulu Plus, which let users stream select TV shows and movies with ads. It later created an ad-free version after complaints from users about having to watch ads despite paying for service. Now, the video streaming service is removing its free service.
Since launching Hulu Plus, there has been lowered demand for Hulu’s free TV service among its 12 million subscribers.
“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,” Ben Smith, Hulu’s senior VP and head of experience, told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
But, for people who still are looking for free shows and movies to stream, Hulu is transferring their content to its distribution partners like Comcast, People.com, EW and New York Magazine. It will also continue to show free episodes on the newly launched Yahoo View, which replaced Yahoo Screen, a TV service with shows like Community that folded seven months ago. Yahoo View will also use Hulu’s video player and run ads through Hulu. Like on Hulu, users will be able to watch the most recent five episodes from TV shows from networks like ABC, NBC and FOX eight days after their premieres.
Yahoo View, which launched today, is currently desktop-only. Unlike Hulu, Yahoo View will include a search option to “browse through extras, behind-the-scenes, GIFs, and edits from Tumblr” while watching shows, reports Venture Beat.
Yahoo View will also serve as a hub focused on the fandoms that emerge around various television shows by featuring added content like clips, recaps and Tumblr-generated GIFs. “It’s an amazing place for fans to connect and engage,” Jess Lee, Yahoo’s VP of lifestyles products, told Venture Beat. “We’ve never had this standalone community destination.”
Hulu users will be notified over the next few days about the change and offered a free Hulu Plus trial.
Next year, Hulu is also planning to start a live TV service.