While Hulu is an established player in the streaming video market, the company could be exploring a big shift. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the company is planning to introduce an advertising-free tier as early as sometime this fall for $12 to $14 per month.
Currently, Hulu users – even those who play $7.99 per month for its monthly service – must deal with a number of advertisements while viewing content. Hulu Plus is available through an iOS app or a number of other platforms, including the Apple TV.
One of the main reasons Hulu is exploring the new option is to better compete with similar services from Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Instant Video. As you probably know, both of those subscription offerings are free of commercials.
The relatively high subscription fee for Hulu’s rumored ad-free tier is designed to bring in new subscribers without cannibalizing its current base used to advertisements.
Hulu is owned by 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney, and Comcast. There are currently around 9 million paying subscribers, which pales in comparison to Netflix’s subscriber base of 65 million.
The company has also been focusing on improving its content. Earlier this year, Hulu signed an exclusive deal with AMC to be the only streaming service to show the new series “Fear the Walking Dead,” which premieres later this summer. The show is the prequel to the channel’s popular “The Walking Dead” series.
And Hulu is the only place to see the hit series “Seinfeld.” Hulu purchased the exclusive rights for all nine seasons of the show for a reported $180 million.
I’m not surprised to see Hulu explore a new ad-free tier. The constant advertisements are one of the main reasons I’ve avoided Hulu all together in favor of Netflix and Amazon. And with Apple’s own rumored video service apparently on track for a fall debut, Hulu needs a number of different viewing options to stay competitive.
Interestingly, earlier this week, the Hulu iOS app was updated to include Apple Watch support. With version 4.4.1, Apple Watch users are now able to control video playback and captions while watching the service on the Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Chromecast. Here’s an interactive preview of the watch app from our sister site WatchAware.