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Hulu to offer 50% off sale to entice more subscribers

October 21, 2010 |  6:18 pm

In a move that signals people aren't rushing to pay to watch TV shows on Hulu, the online video service is poised to dramatically drop the price of its subscription service in hopes of enticing more subscribers.

Hulu plans to halve the monthly subscription fee for Hulu Plus to $4.99 from $9.99, according to a person familiar with the matter. The change could happen as soon as this week.

A Hulu spokesperson said she would not comment on the price cut, which was first reported by the technology blog AllThingsD. Hulu Plus_iPad

The Hulu Plus service launched in in June, promising subscribers access to the complete current season of the broadcast shows it offers, and extensive collections of such popular shows as "Arrested Development" and "Ally McBeal."

But the paid service has been slow to gain traction with subscribers, even though the programming can be viewed from assorted devices, including Apple's iPad tablet computer and iPhone and Sony's PlayStation 3 video game console. Versatility was touted as one the virtues of Hulu Plus.

Subscribers have complained on Hulu's blog about the limited program offerings: The current season's episodes of such popular network shows as ABC's "Modern Family" and Fox's "Glee" are available, but not episodes from the shows' first seasons. That's because the studio that created both shows, Fox, is looking to protect DVD sales and exact top dollar for the programs in syndication, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Exposure on Hulu, Fox fears, would devalue the worth of the shows.

But such business considerations are lost on subscribers, who complain about the absence of the content they thought they were paying for.

"I am also very angry that Hulu 'Plus' has removed content, with absolutely no warning," wrote Lorie Steed  of Archdale, N.C., on Hulu's blog. "In addition to access to the entire first season of 'Glee,' Season 6 of 'Lost' has also been removed.... If Hulu continues doing business in this way, I will be canceling my subscription."

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo of Hulu Plus on the iPad. Credit: Hulu.

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