Hulu moves to subscription-only service

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Popular streaming service Hulu is moving to a subscription-only model, the company said Monday.

Unlike its competitor Netflix, the streaming service started in 2007 with ad-supported content. Now, users will have to pay a regular subscription.

Hulu will begin to notify customers this week, according to CNN. Those without a subscription will be offered a free 30-day trial.

Ben Smith, Hulu’s senior vice president and head of experience, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the strategy the company has been working on.

“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,” Smith said. “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.”

The service has heavily promoted subscriptions and paid content rather than the free content they offer. Visitors to the site are encouraged to sign up for a subscription and not immediately directed to free content.

After the switch, free, ad-supported programming will still be available thanks to distribution partnerships Hulu has with several companies, as CNN reports.

One of those companies is Yahoo, who also announced Monday they would offer access to some of Hulu’s free content through their new site, Yahoo View.

“Yahoo View is the extension of Yahoo’s long-standing distribution partnership with Hulu and will offer thousands of TV, anime, Korean drama and movies including full episodes, films, and clips for free,” a press release reads. “This further emphasizes Yahoo’s commitment to create an experience for people to consume content they care about while being able to connect with a community of like-minded fans.”

Yahoo View will give viewers a place to watch the last five episodes of sitcoms and other day-after clips from ABC, NBC and FOX, according to the press release.