Hulu May Offer Ad-Free Version--For a Price

You could be able to steam episodes of South Park, Seinfeld, and others shows without ever watching an ad in the future.


Video-streaming service Hulu could offer subscribers an ad-free option in the future, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Currently, Hulu subscribers are subjected to a handful of advertisements during each show they watch, albeit not nearly as many as if it were watched on traditional television. This is despite paying $8 per month--the same as Netflix's lowest tier in the United States--though Hulu does offer recently broadcasted episodes of shows, which Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video do not. Those services, however, are ad-free.

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As you'd expect, the option of skipping ads entirely will come at a cost: The $8 monthly fee would jump to something in the $12 to $14 range. That's a fairly high price jump as far as streaming services go, though some would argue paying $4 or even $6 more per month to completely avoid ads is worth it if you watch enough of Hulu's content.

For others, that might be asking too much, and that may be by design. Hulu is owned by many of the companies--21st Century Fox, Comcast, and the Walt Disney Co.--interested in ensuring people still watch traditional television. The report notes they have concerns about a new generation of people who expect television to not be accompanied by ads, which is why those companies like Hulu's existing business model.

Hulu, like Netflix and Amazon Instant Prime, can be watched from PCs, mobile devices, and game consoles, and will presumably be available on toasters before long, too.

Hulu's subscriber base, it should be noted, is dwarfed by that of Netflix--65 million to 9 million, as of the latest tally. During a conference call with investors this week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings suggested the service's prices--which range from $8 to $12 for an option with (limited) 4K support--will increase, though he offered no exact timetable for when that will happen.

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