Hulu considering ad-free tier to better compete with Netflix, other video services

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
Streaming video service Hulu is reportedly exploring the possibility of a completely ad-free tier that could launch as soon as this fall, and cost about $12 to $14 a month.




The project is operating under the codename "NOAH," short for "No Ads Hulu," sources told The Wall Street Journal. The service's owners are still said to support the idea of having an ad-supported version, and are allegedly working to make ads more relevant to subscribers. Hulu is a joint venture by Fox, Disney, and Comcast.

Subscribers currently have access to two tiers. The first offers a basic amount of movies and TV shows for free, but unlimited access -- and any viewing on a TV, phone, or tablet -- costs $8 per month. Both levels have advertising, even though Hulu's main competition, Netflix, has a similar monthly fee and no ads.

Hulu's subscriber base is now 9 million, up 3 million from 2014. The service has been dwarfed by Netflix however, which has over 65 million subscribers worldwide. Hulu is only available in the U.S. and some distant American military bases.

TV industry executives are allegedly worried about the impact of ad-free services because they're not only attracting viewers and hurting ratings, but training people to expect TV shows without ads. This has drawn channel owners to Hulu, and the Journal suggests that the high price of the proposed NOAH tier is a way of keeping ad traffic going.

Nevertheless, an ad-free version of Hulu could present a challenge not just to Netflix but the sudden influx of Internet-only live TV services, such as HBO Now, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and Apple's upcoming service, which could also debut this fall. While Hulu doesn't offer live content, its emphasis on ongoing TV shows -- including many not on Netflix -- could help make it a viable alternative.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 689member

    I'd pay for that in a heartbeat. I HATE ads. I hate ads on my TV. I hate ads on my radio. I hate ads on my computer. I had ads on my phone. I hate print ads. I HATE ADS! I can't remember the last time I bought anything I saw advertised.

  • Reply 2 of 50
    joe28753joe28753 Posts: 75member

    The way I see it, if I'm paying you money for content, I expect there not to be any ads. Free over-the-air transmissions? Fine, put in ads. This is the main reason I don't have cable TV. I'm not going to pay you for the privilege of sitting through ads. I'm honestly surprised so many people signed up for this at all. If you're ok with the ads, you probably have cable so you're used to it. But if you have cable, why do you need Hulu? Aren't these online services meant for cord-cutters?

  • Reply 3 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,284member
    zroger73 wrote: »
    I'd pay for that in a heartbeat. I HATE ads. I hate ads on my TV. I hate ads on my radio. I hate ads on my computer. I had ads on my phone. I hate print ads. I HATE ADS! I can't remember the last time I bought anything I saw advertised.
    sog35 wrote: »
    I HATE ADS.

    willing to pay money not to see crap.
    It's amazing Apple doesn't understand that it pisses people off when they have to see ads and yet they still waste $10's of millions on them.

    /s
  • Reply 4 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    one word: DVR

     

    record and skip all ads.


    Yeah that's not happening. Having to press fast forward, then oops too far, go back, ok close enough, 4 seconds of the last ad. Ok another break, fast forward, oops too far, go back.. 

     

    Yeah, no. That's almost worse than just sitting through them. My point was I shouldn't have to deal with the ads at all if I'm paying for it. Maybe I'm alone in this opinion, but I'm certainly telling them how I feel with my wallet.

  • Reply 5 of 50

    The iTunes TV shows for purchase don't have ads.

  • Reply 6 of 50
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    The iTunes TV shows for purchase don't have ads.

    Neither does Amazon, but purchase just a few shows and you've paid more than a monthly subscription for Hulu for a tiny fraction of content.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 554member
    I stillthink it is odd that Hulu (or whatever they call it now) charges me to still watch commercials. but I pay for the content and deal with the commercials. I actually have another tool that allows me to skip the commercials on Hulu, but requires buffering the show for a few minutes before I start watching.
  • Reply 8 of 50

    Nothing says "**** the customer" more than having them pay for a service, and still presenting ads to them. I have HBO Now at the moment, and their pre-roll 45 seconds of ad before any stream is really irritating when you are used to years of zero ads (Netflix / PBS). Whenever I see ads on TVs at commercial / retail places, it's so weird to think how many god damn commercials are all over air/cable TV. I bought a season of an FX show that included pre-roll ads (10 seconds?) which is beyond reprehensible that Apple allows that.

  • Reply 9 of 50
    asciiascii Posts: 5,850member

    Watching a whole TV season back to back with no ads is the best way to watch it. Not only are ads out of date, but drip feeding it to the viewer week after week is out of date.

  • Reply 10 of 50
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,902member

    Good move...only a little late because I already cancelled my subscription 2 months ago. The damn ad didn't make sense while I got no ad on Netflix with the same price.

  • Reply 11 of 50
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zroger73 View Post

     

    I'd pay for that in a heartbeat. I HATE ads. I hate ads on my TV. I hate ads on my radio. I hate ads on my computer. I had ads on my phone. I hate print ads. I HATE ADS! I can't remember the last time I bought anything I saw advertised.


    I hear you z. I pay for HBO b/c of no ads. :)

     

    I never look at Hulu for that very reason. I deplore anything Google. I don't watch TV. I pay for Fareed Zakaria's GPS show via iTunes. 

  • Reply 12 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,284member
    I pay for Fareed Zakaria's GPS show via iTunes. 

    Good show.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    Good show.

    Yep, Gator. Probably the best news show on TV. I like the fact that he interviews foreign journalists and foreign leaders. Rather than like most shows just interviewing other american journalists. 

     

    $1 a show on iTunes. Well worth it.

     

    Best.

  • Reply 14 of 50
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,159member

    No one wants to actually pay for anything. Free is the price everyone wants. Let someone else pay. But of course, the world can't work like that. It is smart for a retailer to offer options. Choose how you want to buy. 

     

    At the end of the day, every consumer is faced with evaluating the value *to them* *in their circumstances.* My tastes change over time. And value is a deeply subjective thing.

  • Reply 15 of 50
    gatorguy wrote: »
    I pay for Fareed Zakaria's GPS show via iTunes. 

    Good show.

    Used to be. Has become too cliché, with the same cast of characters again and again, and usually too many on any given topic to get past much more than sound bites.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    But...if Netflix is worth $8 month with no ads.....Hulu is worth maybe $6 month with no ads. Maybe.

  • Reply 17 of 50
    Hulu had a real chance to be a breakout service. But they were owned by a conglomerate of old-time media companies, whose thinking has not evolved much since the 1960s. Moreover, they dissed Apple early on when could have piggybacked on Apple's subsequent massive success.

    It's too late for them now. They'll be also-rans for a while.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,902member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post

     

    But...if Netflix is worth $8 month with no ads.....Hulu is worth maybe $6 month with no ads. Maybe.


    I actually prefer Hulu with no ad for the same price as Netflix since it has TV contents available as soon as as next day after being aired. I like Netflix for its movie contents and Marco Polo series, but it's really not much used anymore because I also have Amazon Prime and Comcast (local channels+ HBO for $10/mo) as part of my internet service, so movie streaming is there too. 

    Bottom line, once the internet service is more reliable, I'll drop my Dish and go for SlingTV (or Apple?) + Hulu (no ad) together with free streaming from Amazon Prime. That's less than $30/mo. I can sometimes get HBO for a few months if it has good series like Game of Thrones.

  • Reply 19 of 50
    Most TV on DVD is incredibly cheap these days (apart from Blu-ray Trek remasters), $10-$15 buys you a season. With that, and the plethora of quality shows on Netflix...Hulu just doesn't appeal.
  • Reply 20 of 50
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,404member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zroger73 View Post

     

    I'd pay for that in a heartbeat. I HATE ads. I hate ads on my TV. I hate ads on my radio. I hate ads on my computer. I had ads on my phone. I hate print ads. I HATE ADS! I can't remember the last time I bought anything I saw advertised.




    Then why are so many bitching about Apple Music not having a free, ad supported tier like Spotify?

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