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Friday, February 19, 2010, 07:30 am PT (10:30 am ET)

Hulu for Apple iPad likely to be a pay-only service - report

While content providers intend to bring Hulu to the iPad, the TV streaming service would likely be offered by subscription only on Apple's new hardware, according to a new report.

Citing people familiar with the company, which is owned by three of the largest U.S. broadcast networks, Peter Kafka of MediaMemo reported Friday that the service, which is free for Web users, will likely be pay-only for the iPad. He said the "most likely scenario" would involve some sort of subscription package.

Hulu has been rumored for months to be exploring some sort of subscription plan to help the Web site turn a profit. Sources reportedly said the company is still unsure of the approach it will take with its anticipated premium service, and those issues would need to be resolved before an iPad plan could be made official.

Among the problems for Hulu would be Adobe Flash. Last week, the media Web site was rumored to be working on an iPad-friendly version of its Web site, which would operate without Flash.

Given all of the hurdles that lie in front of the service, Kafka said it's "very unlikely" that Hulu would launch its subscription plan or have a presence on the iPad when it launches at the end of March. But he noted that Apple would "love it" if Hulu could meet that tight timeframe.

"A rumor that the service would launch alongside the iPad surfaced in the wake of Steve Jobs' New York media tour earlier this month," he wrote. "And I don't think that’s a coincidence. But I don't think that makes it so, either."

Weeks ago, Jobs was in New York meeting with numerous media outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to pitch the iPad. In addition to the Hulu-related rumors, the trip produced allegations that Jobs disparaged Flash as "old technology" doomed to failure in meetings with newspaper officials.