If You’re Looking for Free Content, Hulu Is No Longer for You
Image: Lindsey Turner/Flickr

If You’re Looking for Free Content, Hulu Is No Longer for You

Hulu is betting that cord cutters are OK with juggling yet another premium subscription service.
August 9, 2016, 2:15pm

Remember when you could watch select episodes of your favorite shows on Hulu for free? Well, those days are coming to an end… sort of.

On August 8th, Hulu announced a new partnership with Yahoo, who has started their own new streaming service, Yahoo View. Under the agreement, Hulu will shift all its free content over to the new Yahoo service, allowing Hulu to focus on its two subscription tiers, as well as its upcoming linear live TV service.

How will the free content work? Similar to how things were with Hulu, new TV shows from FOX, ABC, NBC, and similar networks will be available on demand after they air. How long will you have to wait to watch? According to TechCrunch, it'll take eight days. And it seems cord cutters aren't too happy about it.

Reddit user miggitymikeb said "If the only option for network shows is an 8 day delay, then piracy will take a big jump this fall."

Maybe, but honestly, there's always been a delay in new content being added on Hulu. Some is added next day, some a week later, some a month later…and good luck trying to figure out which is which (it can vary by network, and even then, the language in Hulu's FAQ often uses wording like "some content").

Of course you could use an antenna to watch network shows live, and couple it with an OTA DVR to record and stream the shows, but that's a lot of work for some people. Not to mention, not everyone can get a good broadcast signal in their area.

Others are unhappy that Hulu has veered away from its original intent: to provide free ad-supported content. Regardless, it's clear that Hulu is continuing to redefine itself. With more original content, the ad-free subscription tier, and new partial owners Time Warner, Hulu looks a lot different than its original form.

But honestly, who didn't expect this coming? With the changing streaming and TV landscape, coupled with Big Cable digging its claws deeper into the service, there's no way Hulu was going to remain stagnant.

Regardless, the free content is still available, just in another place. Unfortunately, for the time being, the Yahoo View website is the only place to use the streaming service. So if you're looking to watch the content on your TV, you'll need to either hook your laptop up to your TV with an HDMI cable or use a device like Chromecast to cast the tab.

While TechCrunch states that device support will increase in the future, it seems that Yahoo is looking to keep users using the site or mobile apps. After all, it's integrating the service with Tumblr, so viewers can watch and discuss content all in the place.

Sound familiar? Yep, the same strategy Twitter is banking on will save its stalling service. This brings up a whole other discussion on the future of television streaming. Could we be looking at the beginnings of a complete redefinition of how we watch TV? Is this the next step in a long-term transition that will combine the first and second screens?

Maybe. Or maybe Yahoo, like Twitter, is a company looking to do whatever it can to turn things around.