Hulu's days as a free online video site could be ending soon.
Comedy Central's decision to yank "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" from Hulu is the latest blow to the entertainment industry's attempts to make money off ads that run with free video.
Yet Hulu's most viable alternative -- charging for access to some videos -- could turn off viewers and crimp growth. After all, many viewers are drawn to Hulu because of its ease of use, not because they couldn't get many of the same videos elsewhere.
Chase Carey, chief operating officer of Hulu co-owner News Corp., has said that the site would have to start charging for some video eventually. But officials have been mum about when that would happen and what would remain free.