It's always been hanging in the air, of course, but as NBC/Fox's Hulu service finally dribbles into private beta mode, it's refreshing to see a senior NBC executive admit that the whole point of Hulu is to do little more than to try and extract more money from consumers.
The network's Chief Executive Jeff Zucker told a breakfast meeting:
He said NBC routinely propositioned Apple to breach its standard pricing model and experiment with higher pricing for one hit show such as “Heroes” by raising the price from the iTunes standard $1.99 to $2.99 on a trial basis.
“We wanted to take one show, it didn’t matter which one it was, and experiment and sell it for $2.99,” he said. “We made that offer for months and they said no.”
In other words: the only reason why Hulu exists is because NBC doesn't like you getting your video for a a price it can't dictate. $2.99 isn't a pricepoint that would be achieved in a free market; NBC is trying to create a monopoly. And for that reason alone, we should all hope Hulu flops.