Hulu Will Stop Offering TV Shows for Free

Will Distribute Library Content in New Partnership With Yahoo

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Yahoo View's website on Monday.
Yahoo View's website on Monday. Credit: Yahoo

Hulu will no longer offer TV shows for free.

The streaming service is scrapping its free, ad-supported TV and movie offering, which had provided streaming viewers with a library of thousands of TV shows and clips since 2007.

But Hulu isn't completely getting out of the free game, albeit now as a supplier to another outlet. The company expanded its distribution partnership with Yahoo for a new service that will offer this library of full-length TV episodes, anime, Korean dramas and movies for free on the Yahoo View platform.

Hulu will handle ad sales for the effort. A Yahoo representative declined to describe further terms of the deal.

The expanded Yahoo View website debuts today as "new community TV watching experience," with apps coming soon, according to an announcement by the companies. The site promises "Your Favorite TV Shows. For Free. Featuring Hulu."

Users will be able to watch the last five episodes of ABC, NBC and Fox series eight days after they air as well as clips of day-after clips. It will provide a hub for TV fandom through Tumblr, as well as access to recaps, images and GIFS. The site also features a "beyond the episode" section that blocks any content that might reveal spoilers about the current episode playing, and includes a picture-in-picture that allows viewers to watch and browse content on the same screen.

The move allows Hulu, which is jointly owned by Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal and Time Warner to focus on its paid subscription services and better compete with rivals like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It currently offers a $7.99 plan that includes commercials and an ad-free tier at $11.99 per month.

The deal also comes about six months after Yahoo shuttered its own video service, Yahoo Screen, which offered original content like the revival of NBC sitcom "Community."

With View, Yahoo will turn from building its own content to providing a destination for TV fans. It will also lean heavily on its Tumblr subsidiary as it tries to build a community of TV fans.

Yahoo is currently in the process of being acquired by Verizon in a deal valued at $4.8 billion. The acquisition is expected to close later this year or early next year.

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