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Hulu drops hints of plans for ad-free service level

updated 01:50 pm EDT, Tue August 2, 2011

Hulu mulls pricier but ad-free streaming

Hulu has given multiple clues to viewers that it's considering an ad-free version of its service. In what's likely an official public line, the company has said it's "looking into the option" of a more expensive tier without the ads of the free or $8 Hulu Plus levels. The seriousness and possible pricing haven't been given out.

Openly discussing possible plans is an unusual step and hints the company is eager to widen its reach to catch marginal customers. A vocal contingent of viewers, though not necessarily large, objects to paying a subscription for online video that still has ads. Netflix has older content than Hulu for the same $8 per month but goes without ads and has consequently had an easier time getting both to these customers as well as into iOS and other platforms where Flash is unsupported or impractical.

A higher price could be problematic given Hulu's existing problems. Territorial defense from TV studios trying to protect legacy deals with providers has often led to the available content often varying wildly for free users and Hulu Plus owners very occasionally being locked out of free content.

The possibility is being raised just as Hulu's very strategy might change. After getting a sudden offer, it has been shopping itself around to major technology companies, including Apple. Only a few may be serious, but many of them have different price models that would either subsume Hulu entirely or stand at odds with what its new buyer was already running. [via Zatz Not Funny]

by MacNN Staff



  1. jumpwpb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I am one of the "vocal contingent"

    I believe that I should only watch ads if the service is free, because it would be an Ad supported service. If there are no ads, I would gladly pay for that level of service. I can't see paying good money to a greedy company who is going to make money from me AND advertisers, especially if I am paying for the service and have no choice but to have their ads interrupt my service, cutting into my ISP bandwidth caps. That's one reason I got rid of Cable TV. I can now watch a one hour show in 20 minutes without the ads. That's a huge chunk of MY life I just got back.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: I am one

    So, a company is 'greedy' if they charge for content AND show ads? Wow, go figure.

    And to think we've been putting up with all these greedy companies doing this for centuries (Wwhat? You want me to buy this magazine? But it has advertising in it! It should be free!")

    Perhaps they'll have tiered services, where the more you pay, the fewer ads you see.

    I never understand how companies are greedy because they have costs they need to cover. Unless you all think rights-fees and bandwidth are free.

  1. 11211

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hulu Plus ads suck

    I agree that ads on tv are fine if handled well. I have Hulu Plus and it's ok as a cheap pay cable replacement in some ways, but the ads are horrible because they're slow to load (a noticeable pause between each one) and there's no way to fastfoward through them when scanning through a show. When you add in the fact that you can't resume shows like on Netflix, that means you can't stop watching the show without sitting through x minutes of ads to find your place again. They also show the first second of the next scene before interrupting it with the ads, obnoxious. If they didn't have some unique content I would cancel.

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