On Tuesday, News Corps. chairman Rupert Murdoch and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference, indicated that one day, Hulu may indeed have a subscription based service. While Murdoch was quoted as saying "no decisions have been made yet," sources I have spoken to have confirmed for me that Hulu is already beta testing a subscription based video service internally and is working out all of the technical details for the offering.
While it does not sound like the service will coming to the market anytime this year, the fact that Hulu is already working on the technical requirements and in particular, hard at work on how the authentication piece of a subscription based service would work, is a promising sign.
From what I'm being told, Hulu has a very clear plan for the offering from a technical standpoint, but still is not completely sure how to roll it out product wise or what exactly the business terms will be. While the technical piece of such an offering would have some complexity to it, the real challenging piece of the offering would be the business terms with content owners.
Since most companies are always testing new things internally, I'm not surprised Hulu's already working on this and while it's not a sign that a subscription based service is coming out anytime soon, it does show us that Hulu is a lot further along with the idea than they may say.
As of Thursday night, Hulu had not yet responded to my requests for them to comment on this subject.