The free Hulu content, which is limited in scope to only some videos, is moving away so the company can focus on its paying subscribers.
Hulu.com is ending its free video content offerings on its website and is moving them to a newly created Yahoo View website where visitors can still view free television programming.
The free content on Hulu's site will end in the next few weeks as the company continues its ongoing transition to a subscriber-only model, the company confirmed to eWEEK
on Aug. 9.
Hulu's free content has been limited to only a few episodes of some shows and has been producing low usage numbers for some time, which spurred the company to end the free offerings. The free content that had been available through Hulu will be available through an expanded partnership between Yahoo and Hulu via the Yahoo View
website, according to an Aug. 8 announcement by Yahoo.
Viewers can watch free video content, including episodes of their favorite TV shows, on Yahoo View, which is an extension of Yahoo's long-standing distribution partnership with Hulu, according to the companies. Under the deal, Yahoo View is now the preferred partner of Hulu for full-length television shows and movies.
For Hulu, the free video content on its website was no longer in sync with the company's paid service offerings, so the decision was made to end it on the site and move it to Yahoo View.
Hulu.com offers seven-day free trials for its paid video streaming services. Subscribers can pay $7.99 a month for accounts with limited commercials or $11.99 a month for accounts that are commercial-free.
The move comes just a few days after cable giant Time Warner Inc
. became a 10 percent equity owner of Hulu in a transaction that was announced on Aug. 3. Under that deal, Turner networks including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies will be available live and on-demand on Hulu's live-streaming service when it begins early next year, according to the companies.
Hulu boasts about 12 million paying subscribers and has about 400 content partners, according to the company.
Hulu offers current season content from five of the six largest U.S. broadcast networks, as well as its own original programming, including The Mindy Project, The Path, 11.22.63, Difficult People
. Hulu was launched in 2008.
Reports began surfacing in May about Hulu's upcoming live TV streaming services
, according to an earlier eWEEK
story. The company plans to compete directly with cable television companies with its own streaming TV service offering to customers that will provide daily network and cable TV programming by subscription.
Among the networks that are expected to be part of the Hulu service offering are ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Fox broadcast network, Fox News, FX, and Fox's national and regional sports channels.
The streaming video and streaming TV markets are continuing to get more competitive as service offerings to customers expand.
AT&T acquired DirecTV for $48.5 billion in July 2015, and began offering blended service packages to customers to expand their user bases, which was part of the company's vision for making the acquisition in the first place. The merger turned AT&T into a bigger player with its hands in more markets and a ready pool of new prospects to bring into its business coffers.
In March, AT&T announced that AT&T and DirecTV customers will be able to dump their satellite dishes
and receive a wide range of video content via wired or wireless internet streaming on any device under new services that are expected to launch by the end of 2016. Under three options, customers will be able to get a multitude of DirecTV Now packages that contain various assortments of content similar to DirecTV content today, DirecTV Mobile packages that they can view anywhere or DirecTV Preview packages with ad-supported free content, according to the companies.