Popular online video site Hulu has been hinting for some time that it may go to a subscription system to make up for the lack of revenue it is earning from advertising, but the problem has been how to test it without alienating current users. Now it appears that the company may have found a solution with Apple’s upcoming iPad tablet.
According to The New York Times, people who have been briefed on the plans of the company say Hulu is working on an application for the iPad, but it will not confirm it as of yet. The sources went on to say that this will be the testbed for the company to try out a subscription system.
Jason Kilar, Hulu’s chief executive, told the paper, “Our mission is to help people discover the world’s premium content, and we believe that subscriptions can help to unlock some of that, including sports and movies and premium cable shows. We’re certainly open to subscriptions as a complement to an ad-supported model.”
Due to the fact that none of the Apple iPhone operating system products support Flash video, which is what Hulu runs on, it would have to be done via an application to make it work. This is the same route that has been taken with YouTube videos as that site also works via Flash, and the app has proven to be a great success, although it is hard to measure as it is included with every device.
There has been some talk of Flash-based sites moving to HTML5 which will support video natively, but a Hulu application would allow for an easier payment system for everyone involved.
The iPad launches this weekend, but there is no indication of when the Hulu app might appear.