Despite the notion that free is the only price people will pay on the Internet, it turns out that quite a few will pony up. On Tuesday, streaming video service Hulu announced that 2 million people are spending $8 per month for Hulu Plus subscriptions.
That price gives users access to previous seasons of shows and the ability to watch beyond the laptop — on tablets, mobile phones, game consoles and connected TVs, among others.
People pay even though they have to watch just as many commercials. "If you were to ask somebody if they wanted a lollipop for free or a lollipop for 50 cents, I'm pretty sure everybody in the room would say they prefer it for free," Hulu's Chief Executive Officer Jason Kilar told TechNewsDaily. "I think there is always going to be a vocal minority that screams from the mountaintops, 'I want everything free and I want no advertising' … but you can't argue with the results," he said.
Not only do people tolerate the ads, many interact with them. For both free and paid users, Hulu often pops up an "Is this ad relevant to you?" question at the top right of the screen to get a better idea of what a viewer likes. "It's a high number (of viewers who click)," said Kelsey Oldendorp, a Hulu spokesperson. "Because I know that (Hulu employers) really rely on it to target our advertising."
So it seems that a lot of people are staying to watch the ads (not just going to the kitchen), and they care about viewing ones that target their interests.
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