The battle to take your money is heating up in the streaming-video sector, as Hulu is offering a new ad-free option to compete with current monkey-taker king Netflix. But here's the catch: it's more expensive than Netflix.
Hulu will now have a third plan for subscribers that includes all of its programming with no ads (sorta), costing $11.99 per month. That's four bucks more than the service formerly known as Hulu Plus, which includes full seasons of many shows with limited ads for $7.99 a month. Hulu will still offer a free plan that includes ads and very limited access to shows, but unless you've never watched television before, it's not of very much use.
But even Hulu's new plan will include some advertising—Hulu is the joint product of the parent companies of ABC, Fox, and NBC, after all—with pre-roll and post-roll ads for seven shows still part of the deal. The Hollywood Reporter named three of those shows: Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and Once Upon a Time, which, coincidentally or not, are all ABC series.
If people actually gobble this new plan up, it could have a huge effect on the current market. Imagine Netflix looking at the new Hulu service and then looking at its own service—which is superior in almost every single way thanks to quality originals, no ads, and a massive library—and the $7.99 per month price tag becomes a huge bargain. Hulu's vanity could cost us all.
This probably isn't the best business idea for Hulu at this time, because Hulu, as it is now, is like a more convenient cable on-demand option. There are some interesting original series coming from Hulu down the line, including J.J. Abrams' 11/22/63 and Jason Katims' The Way, and Hulu has exclusive streaming rights to some great shows like Fargo and You're the Worst, but increasing its subscription price by 50 percent before the originals come out and to get a feature that should be included in the base subscription price anyway (we're already paying subscribers, why are there still ads?) is the kind of ballsy decision that could only come from three old media megacorporations working together in some underground bunker on an inferior product. Ahhh, corporate America.
Which streaming services to you subscribe to, and would you pay more for Hulu's new ad-free plan?