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Hulu’s free streaming option is no more

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Now it's Yahoo View or a membership

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Hulu is no longer offering a native free streaming option, requiring all viewers to purchase a subscription in order to use the platform. Instead, those looking to watch new and recent television content can do so on Yahoo View, a collaboration between Hulu and Yahoo that launches today.

Beyond a one-week free trial, Hulu now requires members to pay monthly fees of either $7.99 (for ad-supported content) or $11.99 (more commercial-free options) to use the service. Yahoo View, however, operates in much the same way as Hulu’s previous free tier, allowing viewers to check out the five most recent episodes of shows from ABC, Fox, NBC and other broadcast networks. The platform even features Hulu branding on its front page.

Yahoo tried to launch a free streaming platform before, airing shows like Community and Other Space on Yahoo Screen. That ad-supported service ended up losing the company $42 million and was shuttered earlier this year.

The amount of free content available to Hulu visitors had been limited for some time. Only a handful of the latest episodes from a given show, complete with commercial breaks was viewable at no cost, while premium members have access to a variety of ad-supported and commercial-free programming. Hulu’s move to the subscription-exclusive space — like Netflix, HBO Go and other competitors — is neither unprecedented nor surprising; still, it’s a shift that forces customers to take out yet another subscription, or add yet another website to their roster of streaming sites.