By Jared Newman | Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 8:51 am
Hulu announced today that the preview phase of Hulu Plus is over, and that the service now costs $8 per month.
If you’ve been paying $10 per month during the preview period, Hulu will credit the difference to your account. And if you haven’t tried Hulu Plus, the site is offering free one-week trials (current subscribers will get a free week as well) and a referral program that gives two free weeks to subscribers and the people they sign up. Sony’s Bravia TVs and connected Blu-ray players come with 11 free weeks, and Roku boxes get a free month.
The free trials are probably the bigger news here than the $24 annual savings over the old price. Hulu Plus has found its way onto a lot of devices over the last few months, including the iPhone, iPad, Playstation 3, Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players, Roku and most recently Boxee. Meanwhile, Hulu has aggressively blocked devices that could access the basic website with just a Web browser, such as Google TV, Android phones and the Playstation 3. With all those devices supported, it’s a good idea to let people see how the service works and how often they’re likely to watch on their phones and big screens.
Hulu’s adding even more devices over the next few months, including the Xbox 360, TiVo Premiere, Western Digital’s WD TV Live media players, LG and Panasonic TVs and Blu-ray players and Vizio TVs. Other phones and tablets will be supported, but Hulu didn’t name them. I’m still on the fence about whether to get Hulu Plus myself — more shows would probably seal the deal — but I have a hard time finding fault with Hulu’s strategy so far.
Is the strategy paying off? Hard to say. Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar wrote that he’s “encouraged by the response” and that the premium service now accounts for “a material percentage” of the company’s overall business. I’m reminded of how Amazon’s Kindle is selling like an unspecified number of hotcakes.