At least, this is the opinion of NewsCorp's brand spankin' new chief digital officer, Jonathan Miller. He's been out there expressing his hope for putting Hulu content behind a pay wall. (NewsCorp was one of the original partners in Hulu, with NBC being the other. Disney, which owns ABC, recently joined the gang.)
Of course, Miller's boss, Rupert Murdoch has recently been loud and clear on his intent to monetize newspaper websites via a pay wall. Call me crazy, but that's been tried and it didn't work. I remember not being able to read a full story unless I shelled out a subscription or one time fee. I didn't. It's too easy to find out about news for free (say, on Twitter).
With television, it's different, but in a worse way for the networks. People are either already shelling out a ton for their cable bundles and Satellite dishes. Others either can't afford them or simply choose not to have a premium television experience, so why would they pay for it online?
Of course, you don't even need cable to watch NBC, FOX, and ABC shows (those are the three major networks featured on Hulu).
Mix in the ever-increasing popularity of DVRs and you have the perfect storm of reasons to avoid paying for Hulu.
Media companies are certainly in a conundrum. Consumers have come to expect rather immense amounts of content online for free. All they have to do is put up with some irrelevant ads.
But their answer doesn't lie in charging consumers directly. It lies in improving display advertising. It lies in convincing search marketers that their search ROI actually improves when complemented with a display campaign.
Instead, media conglomerates seem intent on passing on their problems directly to the consumer instead of actually figuring them out.
Am I wrong? Is my brain rotted on this matter? Tell me how it is in the comments.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!