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Hulu headed for subscription service scheme?

News Corp says ad model 'doesn't work'

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Hulu's days as a completely free internet TV outfit may be numbered if News Corp.'s new digital chief gets his way.

The service is currently only available in America, although a UK version may arrive as early as September. But will it remain an entirely ad-sponsored font of television and movies when it crosses the Atlantic?

News Corp.'s Jonathan Miller was venturing to a variety of venues this week, expressing his general distaste for gratis internet content. Speaking Tuesday at an Internet Week event sponsored by the Hollywood Reporter, Miller said he'd like to see at least some Hulu content restricted to subscribers.

When asked about future business models for the service, Miller called the website an "environment for premium content."

"I don't see why over time that shouldn't happen," Daily Finance quoted him saying. "I don't think it's on the agenda for Monday [but] it seems to me that over time that could be a logical thing."

Later, over at the seventh All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, California, Miller was lecturing on how ad-supported content "doesn't work," suggesting web companies start weening users off the free content they've grown accustom to with micropayments.

Miller the web service biller is probably better known as AOL's former chief executive officer. Perhaps you'll recall he's the man who in 2006, made the decision to toss away AOL's failing ISP subscription service and make it a free, ad-supported content provider? OK, so the change didn't exactly save the biz, but it kept the corpse from decaying completely.

In March 2009, the Miller joined News Corp to "oversee the broad strategic digital initiatives," of the American media conglomerate – when he was suddenly stricken by a case of convenient amnesia. ®

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