Hulu Partners Eye Subscription Model


Two of the major partners in Hulu -- News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker - hinted at an investor conference here Monday that they are investigating the possibility of further monetizing the online video venture, including charging a subscription for the service.

At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference here Tuesday, Murdoch said the company is looking for ways to further monetize the joint venture, which also includes The Walt Disney Co. and providence Equity Partners.

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"Are we looking at it with a view toward adding subscription services and pay per view? Yes we are," Murdoch said of the Hulu venture. "No decisions have been made yet."

Earlier, Zucker said that all media companies, including NBCU, are looking for ways to extract more revenue from online content. Zucker also poked fun at his own comment earlier this year that companies were spending analog dollars to chase "digital dimes."

"Certainly by next year the goal should be at least quarters," Zucker said.

But the NBC executive added it is too early to tell how that goal will be achieved.

"I don't think anyone predicted we would be this far along after 18 months," Zucker said of the Hulu venture. "We are ahead of plan and we have more than 200 advertisers at Hulu. We are going to continue to be as innovative as anyone on monetization of the ad-supported model, that's really where our focus is today. Whether there are other ways to monetize Hulu down the road, it is something that we are open to, something we will explore, but there are no plans at this time."