Hulu subscribers have long bemoaned the presence of commercials on the streaming service, especially while already having to pay a monthly fee. The complaints have finally been heard, as Hulu announced Wednesday (Sept. 2) a commercial-free option – albeit with a catch.
The commercial-free offering will cost $12 a month, as opposed to the $8 monthly fee subscribers currently pay. At any time, subscribers will be able to switch to the commercial-free option or stick with content accompanied by limited commercials – which the company maintains is fewer than scheduled television.
But even if you are willing to shell out an extra $4 a month for commercial-free content, not every show will be without ads.
According to Variety, certain rights held by studios make it so select series will still be preceded by a 15-second ad and followed by a 30-second ad. Those series include ABC’s “Scandal,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Once Upon a Time” and “Agents of SHIELD,” as well as Fox’s “New Girl” and NBC’s “Grimm.”
“They have other commitments that they couldn’t free them up for a complete commercial-free offering,” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said to Variety, while also assuring there will be a clear indication to users as to which series will still have ads.
That being said, this is the latest move Hulu has taken this year to entice users away from Netflix and Amazon in the ongoing battle for streaming supremacy.
Most recently, the company joined forces with Epix in a multi-year agreement that will make titles from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount available on the service for the first time.
In April, Hulu acquired the exclusive streaming rights for “Seinfeld,” adding the hit ’90s sitcom to a growing library of shows that includes “Empire,” “Fargo,” “South Park,” “CSI,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Deadliest Catch,” and “The Last Ship” among others.
And like its chief competitors, Hulu is investing in original programs like “11/22/63” from Stephen King and J.J. Abrams, and “Difficult People” produced by Amy Poehler.
Still, there is a significant amount of ground to make up, as Hulu currently has 9 million subscribers compared to the 42 million Netflix boasts.