Hulu, the premium video content website, may go public in a transaction that could value the company at over $2 billion, according to an exclusive report in The New York Times. It will certainly be a challenge to pull the deal off in a relatively soft stock market environment -- with an unproven business model. As the article says, "despite its status as a big player in online video, the company currently makes little in the way of profit."

Hulu is owned by News Corp. (NWS), Walt Disney (DIS), GE's (GE) NBC Universal and the private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

According to Comscore, Hulu ranked second among all U.S. video sites in May with 1.17 billion videos viewed -- although its ranking is dwarfed by first place YouTube, which had 14.6 billion videos viewed for the same month. It may not be much of a comparison, but Google (GOOG) bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in October 2006. Video use on the Internet has increased sharply since then. And YouTube content is still made up mostly of short-form amateur video.

Hulu is about to add a $9.99 subscription service that will offer consumers access to program archives and special features. The service has been ad-supported until now. As Hulu transitions to a paid subscription model, it faces the same issue of many other sites: Will people pay for something they're used to getting for free?

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Mark Lathom

No one will pay for Hulu, every show I used to watch on Hulu is now streamed for free on the hosting channels website anyways. Just look at South Park, EVERY episode you could want to see is posted. And because of so no one needs to priate the episodes to the extent of other shows/movies.

August 16 2010 at 8:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
melinda

no i aint payin

August 16 2010 at 2:21 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Mom and Dad

Most people won't pay for that. They're making enough on advertising, they just want to get greedy. I suggest you don't buy their stock. You could be throwing your money away. My kids won't even watch the free stuff on Hulu any more.

August 16 2010 at 2:11 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Mantucket

GREED.... thats all it boils down to. The HELL with Hulu,NBC, "DISNEY",GE. but you got IDOITS out there that is going to fall for this scam.

August 16 2010 at 1:46 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
aviatorjett

If this article is implying that everything that is now free on Hulu may one day soon be available only with a $120/year fee, then the answer is no, I'll not be suckered into it. I'd gladly go without Hulu entirely, first because it's simply not worth that much to me, and second, there are other free sites such as tv-links. eu that offer even more programs than Hulu, albeit illegitimately. I'm no finance expert, but it seems to me that the market this article claims Hulu is trying to enter is already saturated by the likes of Blockbuster and Netflix. But no, I would absolutely not pay for Hulu. For the time being, I'll just enjoy the free Hulu and continue to mute and ignore all the ads slathered into its programs.

August 16 2010 at 1:44 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
sindfetish

HULU...great site...love it...great selection....I put up with the ads/commercials....WON'T pay 4 it

August 16 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Mikey

For most TV shows from major networks, Hulu offers the 5 most recent episodes to watch for free. In the article it states "Hulu is about to add a $9.99 subscription service that will offer consumers access to program archives and special features." From what I can tell, you'll still be able to watch the most current episodes for free, but if you want access older episodes, previous seasons and special feature content, there will be an optional subscription. Subscribing will probably remove the advertising within the videos as well. Sounds reasonable to me.

August 16 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mikey's comment
jsm422

Once they've got the advertising money, they'll never let it go. If you watch Hulu, you'll notice that the advertisements have increased. Soon they'll have as many ads as they do on reg. TV

August 16 2010 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amber

no way would I pay not when I already pay for cable and tivo

August 16 2010 at 1:30 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
connachtmacdein

Thanks but no thanks. Being disabled and on a limited income is what brought me to Hulu. As it is I am unable to pay the Over priced fees for cable. If they make Hulu a pay to veiw site than i guess I will have to give that up aswell. In my opinion the only reason for them to make hulu a pay site is GREED and nothing more. But Hey Who doesn't need so much money that it has basically no value to them? If these companies woould let some of the Biliions upon Billions of dollars they are setting on, back out in the hands of the rest of the world, MAYBE the economy would get better " how can I buy a new car if Disney has the money i need to do so, locked up in some bank overseas? It is not like they can take it with them and use it on the other side when they die. But Wait, they need the money so they can plan to take their vacation on Mars and still have some pocket change.
I think they can afford a freeby once in awhile.

August 16 2010 at 1:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Derz

I will not pay, hopefully HULU listen's to the voice of the people and does not mess up a good thing.

August 16 2010 at 1:20 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply