So Hulu Plus preview users on the PS3 and iPad have run into some strange licensing issues. The details on the iPad situation are a bit unclear, but the PS3 users get to pay lots of extra fees for the privilege of watching content they could see for free on the web.
Let’s start with the PS3: not only will users have to pay $9.95 a month for Hulu Plus, they’ll also have to pay $50 per year for the requisite PlayStation Plus membership if they want Hulu Plus right now. After all that, users paying for the service aren’t able to watch the free content via their PS3. This is of course the free content on the web that non-paying Hulu users can see any time they want on the web. Sony has stated that Hulu Plus will eventually be available to all their users in near future. It’s unclear at this time if that means that Hulu Plus subscribers wouldn’t have to pay the $50 for a PlayStation Plus membership or not.
iPad users have experienced the same issue. Content viewable for free on the web is unavailable via the Hulu Plus client. Apparently it comes down to licensing: Hulu doesn’t have the rights to include some of the shows available for free on the web via their premium product. No doubt this is something the lawyers will work out later, but for right now it kind of sucks for the people who are paying for Hulu Plus.
It’s also kind of funny. “You can’t have it.” “Why?” “Because it’s free.” Shades of Abbott and Costello.