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Hulu Ends Free Streaming, Can It Compete With Netflix?

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Hulu, one of the biggest names in online video streaming, announced today that it is moving to an all-subscription model. Previously, Hulu allowed users to access a large portion of its library through its free, ad-supported service.

For the cord-cutters out there that use Hulu to keep up with current shows, fear not, for there is another option. While Hulu moves away from its ad-supported model, it is also expanding its distribution deal with Yahoo YHOO.

Yahoo is in the process of launching Yahoo View, an ad-supported streaming service that will “replace” Hulu’s current iteration. Yahoo View will host the five most recent episodes of television shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox, as well as other shows, clips, and full seasons of anime shows.

It should also bet noted that that Hulu has already offered a subscription service that offers users access to commercial-free video streaming and exclusive original content, including a number of new TV shows.

This shift in strategy comes in the wake of the news that Time Warner TWX recently acquired a 10% stake in Hulu, which it announced in its earnings report last week. Time Warner joins Hulu’s other corporate owners, including Disney DIS, 21st Century Fox FOXA, and Comcast CMCSA.

The launch of Yahoo View also comes at an interesting moment for the once-massive search engine. Verizon (VZ - Free Report) recently announced that it is acquiring the core business of the struggling Yahoo for $4.83 billion. While it is unclear exactly what changes Verizon will make, Yahoo View seems to be in-line with the recent industry norm of service providers working to own a bigger slice of the content pie.

Of course, Hulu’s move to an all-subscription service now puts it in direct competition with Netflix NFLX. Cord-cutters are a frugal bunch, with the overall goal of ditching traditional TV being to save money.

Users looking for the free experience will be able to transition to Yahoo View rather easily, but it will be interesting to see how this changeup works out for Hulu. As always, Hulu boasts the ability to stream current episodes of shows, which makes the cord-cutting transition easier for many.

Although Netflix still dominates the market, it has to be looking behind its back as Hulu continues to adapt.

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