Hulu was conceived as a focal point for its owners to exert greater leverage in rights negotiations for online distribution, rather than as a viable business proposition in its own right. In one sense Hulu has since become a victim of its success, tangling with the emerging online business models of its parents. With their focus on content they are most interested in maximizing their carriage rights from all sources, rather than giving them away free without restrictions on Hulu. They have lost their fear of Google, reducing their need for a single portal for negotiations, and as a result Hulu is no longer necessary for them and has become almost a thorn in their sides.
Hulu will become just one of many sites where the content can be obtained.
Its owners will continue to run Hulu as a subscription service, since from this they derive ancillary revenue. But it will not be a cornerstone of their online strategies as it has been, and they will no longer allow it to compete as a free service with their own sites, or to jeopardize their ability to obtain carriage fees from other online distributors.