Remember the 1960s 1990s when everything (online) was free for the using? Go ahead, download, play, utilize — the ad revenue will take care of it! Yes, those few years when  we were all drinking the DotCom Kool-Aid were magical. Flash forward into today; we live in a very different world. A revolutionary concept called “paying for value added” has been implemented with many services across the board and apparently, those looking for a “free ride” are not doing so well with the news.

Take the news of Hulu beginning to charge… sit down for this number, it’s huge… $9.95 for viewing older episodes of popular TV programming. Yes, let me say this again slowly. You still have the option of watching the five most recent episodes of popular programming. So, yeah. Clearly we need to riot in the streets over this one! How dare they not pay for something we can readily freeload! The insanity of it all!

The idea of asking users to compensate Hulu for the tremendous bandwidth used to play the more “long tail episodes” of programming is enough to make you want to run around screaming in frustration.

Okay seriously… give me a break!

Let’s look at the real situation, without the 1990s mentality of “gimme” for a second here.

  1. Hulu still allows me to create a queue of the latest shows, hook up my notebook to my 42″ flat screen TV, and enjoy TV for free. This gives me the latest programming at no charge.
  2. If, for some reason, I need to rot my brain further, I can dig around in the couch each month for the life changing sum of $10 to spend instead of donating nearly $100 ($80-90 something) a month for stuff on TV I never watched with cable!
  3. At the moment, Hulu commercials are less annoying than those on cable. And did I mention that the service is still basically free?

Maybe I just don’t fully appreciate how the people I see on the Web whining about spending $10 for backwards capable programming have a leg to stand on? Seriously, it’s like having on-demand but with the stuff you actually WANT to watch!

So long as Hulu sticks to using Flash (no Silverlight, thanks), keeps the Hulu Desktop open to all platforms and doesn’t start making it difficult to watch the content on the screen size of my choosing (aka my TV set), well, I’d tell those complaining to simply wander back to their illegal TV torrents and be sure to tell the ISPs hello when they shut you down. I mean, come on, it’s not like they were supporting the advertisers anyway. Clearly they found those “mean old commercials” irritating and unfair as well, I bet.

[awsbullet:Milton Friedman]