Hulu Drops Free Streaming, but Yahoo Picks it Up

Hulu has announced that it is discontinuing its free TV show streaming service on its website. While this will have no effect on those who stream videos to the many media players, smart TVs and devices that have the Hulu app, it is indicative of the future of Hulu’s offerings. Although you won’t be able to find free TV shows on Hulu, the company has made a distribution deal with Yahoo to stream TV programming from NBC, ABC, and Fox.

The free service has undergone changes over the past few years. Originally offering free streaming of TV shows the day after they are broadcast, gradually the shows were delayed for over a week before becoming available to stream without a subscription.

Hulu Senior VP and Head of Experience Ben Smith explained the company’s vision in a statement, “As we have continued to enhance that offering (of the subscription service) 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 new Yahoo View streaming will follow the eight day delay model and will limit the availability of TV shows to the five most recent episodes. While Comcast’s Xfinity offers free content and free episodes are available on New York magazine’s and Time’s, Yahoo will be the Hulu’s preferred partner.

"Video is an important part of Yahoo's strategy" said Phil Lynch, Vice President and Head of Media Partnerships in a recent press release. "This partnership with Hulu is a natural extension of that strategy, bringing the best of TV & entertainment content to our lifestyle vertical."

That strategy includes a streaming live TV bundle to be launched in 2017, that will compete with streaming live TV options Dish’s Sling TV, Sony Vue and AT&T’s DirecTV Now.

Hulu’s free service will end within the next few weeks. Yahoo View has already begun streaming TV episodes. Note that while Hulu’s subscription service offers a commercial-free option for $11.99 per month, Yahoo View relies heavily and advertising and commercials in the TV show streams. Hulu is my go-to streaming TV service, but I watch on my TV, I haven’t watched the free service for years. For those who do, you’ll have to head on over to Yahoo.

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