New York – Yesterday, Product Director Rob Wong of Hulu, the online video portal joint venture between NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) and Disney (NYSE: DIS), announced in a blog post on the companyâ€™s site that you no longer need an invitation, just $9.99 per month, to subscribe to Hulu Plus, the video portalâ€™s much heralded premium service.
Whatâ€™s the difference between Hulu and Hulu Plus? For starters, Hulu Plus offers subscribers access to all current season episodes of 45 popular shows, instead of just the last 5 current episodes available to non-paying subscribers. The premium service also allows subscribers the ability to watch shows, movies and video clips on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad as well as on some Samsung HDTVs and Blu-ray players, Sonyâ€™s 2010 Bravia HDTVs and Sony PlayStation 3 game consoles. The company plans to add access to older Sony devices, the Xbox 360, Vizio HDTVs and Blu-ray players, TiVo digital video recorders and Roku in the future.
Also, there is speculation that at some point Hulu will allow Google TV devices to access shows at the site by paying for Plus instead of blocking their standard-issue, Chrome-based browser, and perhaps there will be an Android Hulu Plus app coming down the pike as well.
Does Hulu Plus eliminate ads? Not completely, but it does remove pre-rolls in place of shorter and fewer ads inserted within episodes than you would find on regular TV.
Whether Hulu Plus is enough to drive consumers to â€œcut the cordâ€ (i.e., drop their cable plans in favor of online video) is uncertain, but it is another significant step as the market for premium Internet content grows. There will be more discussion on this topic at Future of Television East at NYU Stern on November 19.