Hulu will shut down its free service, according the The Hollywood Reporter.
The free tier, which has been a big part of Hulu since the company’s inception, has become a “low trafficked product,” according to THR. That’s partially because Hulu has taken great pains to shuttle people toward its subscription services (both the ad and “ad-free” tiers).
“As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy,” Hulu VP Ben Smith told THR.
Hulu’s free options have mostly consisted of the last five episodes of broadcast shows, most of which were available on the network’s sites for free anyway.
This move doesn’t mean those free Hulu shows will go away. In fact, Hulu just announced a deal on Monday with Yahoo that will bring much of this content to a service called Yahoo View.
“Featuring content from Hulu, this Fall, Yahoo View will be the best place to watch the last five episodes of ABC, NBC, FOX (8 days after original broadcast) and other network sitcoms, day-after clips, and full seasons of anime and Korean drama,” Yahoo said in a press release. THR notes it will also be available through partners like Comcast.
So you’ll still be able to watch those “last five” episodes somewhere, it’s just that Hulu is making another move to distance its brand from free content.