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Hulu subscription plan for Apple iPad to arrive later than expected


Originally rumored to launch as soon as next week, Hulu's planned $10-a-month subscription service for advance content and access via an iPad application remains in the works.

In April, The Los Angeles Times reported that Hulu's new service, dubbed Hulu Plus, would arrive as soon as May 24. But on Tuesday, Peter Kafka of MediaMemo cited people familiar with the online streaming service who said there is "no way" Hulu Plus will become available next week.

The company plans to charge a monthly subscription for access to Hulu on the iPad through a forthcoming application to be released on the App Store. Hulu executives were initially hopeful that they could release an application — and corresponding subscription plan — potentially alongside the debut of the iPad.

But Kafka said Tuesday that it's likely the service remains in negotiations with content holders. He did say, however, that he believes the main partners — including Fox, ABC and NBC — have agreed to the basics of the subscription plan, including a $10-per-month fee for access to "a deeper catalog of broadcast shows plus access to the services like Apple's iPad."

"And even if Hulu and all of its partners are seeing eye-to-eye — not a given — getting the rights from various programming partners to sell their shows could be a slog," Kafka wrote.

But people pushing Hulu's subscription plan behind the scenes did reportedly say that the new service will be "revolutionary."

One feature that the new Hulu won't support: HTML5. Last week, the company revealed on its official blog that it doesn't see HTML5 in its immediate future. The current player on the website is built on Adobe Flash, which is used to stream video, secure content, and handle reporting for advertisers, among many other tasks.

Hulu's iPad application is expected to be similar to the existing ABC and Netflix streaming players available for download on the App Store. The popular ABC application shows programs like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" for free, with ad support. And that free product has apparently caused concern for Hulu and its subscription plans.

Reports have suggested that Hulu will incentivize its subscription plan by offering streaming to Apple's iPad, as well as by including a "window" where content is available to subscribers before it can be seen for free by the general public. It is said that Hulu's business partners have pressured the service into subscription plans to "train" viewers that they should pay for online access to content.