Photo: Josh Hallet via Flickr
ABC has “quietly” built an online subscription product for its shows that would serve up much of the programming that it currently offers to Hulu, the Wall Street Journal reports.The subscription site might not ever launch, but it shows how strained and confused the relationship is between Hulu and its corporate parents. Disney, which owns ABC, is one of four major stakeholders in Hulu.
ABC already irked Hulu CEO when it offered its iPad app, which has programs streaming for free, before Hulu was on the iPad.
Building a subscription web service would be another indirect attack on Hulu.
In the short run, it makes more sense to watch shows at Hulu, and pay the subscription fee there. But, Hulu’s contracts are up with its major content partners/owners. As it starts to renegotiate, Disney has more leverage since it can say, “We can build something on our own.”
Of course, Disney owns a piece of Hulu, so you would think it wants Hulu to succeed.
Regardless, an ABC subscription product, if it launched, would be very interesting. It could start with ABC content, then branch out into more Disney content at large. Way down the line, it could lead to a la carte online video options.
It would also provide a front for Disney to attack Netflix, which is growing bigger, and thus stronger, every day.