There are rumblings that awesome TV show site hulu.com may have to start charging for TV shows. This has resulted in the predictable Nerdhate and rage.
But come on. I'm no happier about this that you. But. Of course they will do this, and it's hardly a terrible idea, for two reasons:
Advertising Is Not An Infinite Pool of Money From Which We Can Drink Without Limit - If the net should have taught us anything over the last few decade, it's that, "Hey, let's give things away for free and make money from adventising" only works if you're Google. Hulu is an awesome, awesome deal. It's just too beautiful to live.
People Pay For TV Shows! - Look at iTunes. People will happily give a buck for a TV show they like if it's really easy and convenient. To say that nobody will pay hulu is ludicrous. Some people will turn back to torrents. People like me, whose time has value, will just pay the dollar.
People hate to hear this, but it's true. Making TV shows is difficult and expensive. If ads don't make enough money (and I really doubt that the handful of ads hulu shows pay the bills), they will have no choice but to start charging. It's just the math of the thing.