The Internet video site is weighing plans to charge users to watch episodes of "30 Rock," "Modern Family" and "House." The move would mark a sharp change of course for the venture, which was launched nearly two years ago by a consortium of studios to distribute without charge TV shows and movies over the Internet.
The site has spent months studying how to strike a balance between what people expect to watch for free online and for what they would be willing to pay, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.
One plan under consideration would allow users to view the five most recent episodes of TV shows for free, but require a subscription of $4.99 a month to watch older episodes. Hulu believes it will need at least 20 TV series, both current and those no longer on the air, to make such a pay service attractive to users. A firm pricing model could emerge within six months.
A Hulu spokeswoman declined to comment.