Starting today, Hulu has added a new premium subscription that will allow viewers to watch TV and movies without any ads.The new membership tier, which is already available, will offer uninterrupted viewing for $11.99 per month, or 50 percent more than its standard paid subscription.
Of film and TV streaming’s “big three”—Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime—Hulu had been the only service that required subscribers to sit through ad breaks. Its former sole premium option, “Hulu Plus,” offered a larger content library but still ran mid-roll ads. Now, it’s divided into the $11.99 “No Commercial Plan” and a $7.99 “Limited Commercials” plan — though several shows, like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, still have preroll/post-roll ads with the $11.99 service — at least until Hulu gets the rights to run them without any commercials.
The service has relied on offering recently-aired episodes of current TV shows and high-profile exclusive deals, such as the streaming rights to Seinfeld, to make itself appealing, even to those paying for other services. With a membership base approximately a quarter the size of Netflix, the service is eager to find ways to turn non-paying members into premium subscribers. (Hulu also assumed a power role just days ago, when they got the rights to stream Epix films and shows, whose contract with Netflix had just expired).
Speaking with the New York Times, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said he believes that customers who have declined to use, or at least pay for, the service will reconsider now that there’s an ad-free option.
With its multi-tiered system, Hulu also stands to make considerably more on a customer-by-customer basis. An all-access Hulu membership will run you $20.99 per month, more than double the cost of a single-user Netflix account. At the same time, it is also the only service of its type to offer a completely free service on browser-based devices.