Hulu Winds Down its Free Service, Partners on Yahoo TV Site

Hulu is shutting down the free, ad-supported version of its service. The company announced it is transitioning to a subscription-only model following investments in more movies and TV shows. Hulu’s two subscription tiers include an ad-free plan for $11.99 per month and a limited-commercial offering for $7.99 per month. Hulu is also expanding its distribution deal with Yahoo by partnering on Yahoo View, a new ad-supported streaming site that will carry the five most recent episodes of series from Hulu co-owners ABC, FOX and NBC, eight days after their original broadcast.

“Hulu is focusing on subscriptions as it looks to ratchet up its competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime, its two key SVOD rivals,” Variety notes. “In addition, Hulu is gearing up to launch a live-TV service sometime in 2017, which will feature linear channels from its parent companies including local TV stations.”

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The announcements come shortly after Time Warner revealed it would acquire a 10 percent stake in Hulu for $583 million, joining forces with existing owners Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

“The site will now become one of the only ways to watch Hulu’s TV shows and movies for free,” reports TechCrunch. “In total, there will be thousands of TV shows, anime, movies, Korean drama, British and Latino content available, as well as clips and other behind-the-scenes interviews, as has always been on Hulu.”

While Yahoo will become a preferred partner, Hulu content will still be offered through Comcast and sites that carry its player, including EW, New York Magazine, People.com, Time.com and Vulture.

Yahoo View is not just a portal for watching Hulu shows, according to TechCrunch. “The service is also tied into the Yahoo-owned blogging platform Tumblr … home to a number of TV fandoms, where users blog and reblog clips, photos and GIFs, as well as follow the official blogs from the show itself. Now it will be easier to jump into Tumblr when watching your favorite shows, via Yahoo View.”

Tumblr includes a “Beyond the Episode” section with a picture-in-picture feature that enables views to surf the site while watching shows.

Yahoo View is currently live on the desktop and will be available soon via iOS and Android mobile apps.