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A few years ago, there was a lot of TV available on the Internet for free. Hulu and Yahoo video made certain shows available and the major networks themselves put up episodes of series for free on their websites. However, now network content is often stuck behind walls, forcing cable subscribers to put in their Comcast or AT&T information to access content. Then, this week, Hulu actually announced it would be getting rid of its free, ad-supported service for good. It's not all bad news, though.
The move has been a long time coming. Fewer and fewer shows have been available for free in recent years, and subscribers have mostly been paying either $7.99 a month for an ad supported service or $11.99 a month for an ad-free experience. However, a week ago Time Warner bought a 10% stake in Hulu and the changes are coming fast and furious now. First and foremost, if you have been using the free Hulu component, that's going to be over, according to Variety. Instead the focus will be on people shelling out actual dollars for content, although it seems the model with ads for $7.99 will stay in focus.
Another change that is being made is that Hulu is partnering up with Yahoo. We learned this morning that the partnership will include free---likely ad-supported---content, so if you were using Hulu for free content, you can probably catch some of that content via Yahoo View. Full seasons of anime and Korean content will be viewable via Yahoo View, but those five recent episodes of network content, including stuff from ABC, NBC and Fox will be available on Yahoo View, as well. The episodes will not pop up until 8 days after the original broadcast airing, though. But if you aren't on any time constraints, it's a definite option.
Yahoo has had its own problems with streaming TV in the past. An earlier video service called Yahoo Screen with the company saw Yahoo acquire the rights to NBC's former series Community, but that didn't end up being as big of a revenue bringer as the network hoped. The deal between Yahoo and Hulu should be beneficial to both companies, as it makes Yahoo a player in the streaming game and it should make Hulu a more major player in the game. Hulu has been trying to provide a different but equally viable experience to Netflix, and its access to a ton of past TV content and its own lineup of interesting originals both help the streaming service to stand out.
Still, the lack of free content could be a problem for some users. If you'd like to look more into paying to subscribe via Hulu Plus, you can access more information here.