Hulu adds commercial-free video streaming option for $11.99 a month

Hulu is finally going to give its subscribers an option to get rid of those pesky ads while watching current episodes of their favorite TV shows. The company has launched a new option that will offer commercial-free video streaming option for $11.99 a month.

The company stated:

"At Hulu, we pride ourselves on listening to our customers and giving them the best possible experience," said Mike Hopkins, CEO, Hulu. "Many of our customers have asked us for a commercial free option, and so today we are excited to introduce just that. Providing more choice for consumers is fundamental to the Hulu experience, in addition to an array of choices in content and devices, our customers can now choose to watch with or without commercials."

People who are already signed up for the current $7.99 a month option, with ads, can switch to the new commercial-free subscription program for an extra $4 a month. The new $11.99 service comes as Hulu is expanding into offering more movies, including a new multi-year agreement to stream movies from the Epix cable TV network. It is also making more investments in original programming like its biggest rival Netflix, including the upcoming event series 11/22/63, based on the novel by Stephen King.

There is some fine print to this deal, however, as explained in Hulu's FAQ page:

For a small number of shows, however, we have not obtained the rights to stream commercial free and they are not included in our No Commercials plan. You can still easily access these shows with a short commercial before and after each episode with no interruptions during the episode. Specific shows that still have commercials accessible through the No Commercials plan will be noted throughout the signup, switching, and playback experience. While the list of shows may change, these shows are currently: Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon A Time, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, Grimm, New Girl, and How To Get Away With Murder.

Source: Hulu{.nofollow}

John Callaham
  • I been wanting this
  • Cool
  • Ads don't bother me.
  • How long are the ads? I don't use Hulu.
  • 2 or 3 30 second clips.  It's not too bad, but they repeat the same ad over and over which gets annoying.
  • VERY annoying. Cancelled before the free trial was over. Found it obnoxious to PAY to watch ads... This is also why I don't, never have and never will pay for cable.
    The business model makes NO SENSE at all... Pay for cable and you'll still see 20 minutes of ads and hour... If you make minimum wage in the US ($7.25) you "pay" about $2.40 an hour to watch TV... How much do you suppose THEY make? Well I dont know about hulu but i have looked it up for cable networks... What do you think revenue from advertising per viewer in prime time works out to? $2.40? HALF that? BARELY over 1/50th! This means that jacking up the price by $4 would MORE than pay for lost revenue from ads yet Hulu is the first to do this... What gives?! I mean if GLADLY pay hat to see TV without ads... In my hypothetical 16 hrs of watching a week (since I dont have it I am not sure whats normal but I tried to make it a "worst case") the view had "paid" over $50/month extra in lost time if they make MINIMUM WAGE... No one has even been able to explain to me how the economics of cable (and presumably Hulu with ads) comes even close to making sense.
  • It always buffering but mysteriously ads run without any issue!!!
  • You pay and you still get ads?? Let me stick to netflix...
  • You're acting like they are the same thing and Hulu doesn't have (a) original programming and (b) TV shows that aired the night before. Le'ts see: Hulu for $7.99 with ads, $11.99 without versus Cable. Not hard to find the savings. Ideally you pair Hulu + Netflix and ditch cable. This covers a lot of programming for people while saving money.
  • I dropped both Hulu+ and Netflix once both of them dropped Kinect gesture support for their Xbox One apps, making them useless to me. I use Live TV with OneGuide, Amazon Instant Video, Xbox Video, and Crackle instead, all of which still have full voice and gesture navigation via Kinect.
  • You could just use the controller...
  • He could but coip is a Xbox enthusiast if you read some of his posts. So instead of using a controller he drops the services all together.
  • The original Netflix app for Xbox One was a beast. After the change, I stop watching. Then I got an 830 from AT&T and forgot all about Netflix
  • Use the remote. That's what I do. :)
  • You are correct that it's cheaper than cable, but why get complaciant to pay and still have to deal with ad revenue? The reason for ads is to make money, if they aren't making enough on ads, they aren't charging enough to the people buying advertising space. If they are making enough and still charging for a service, they are greedy and I won't subscribe to them. 
  • Agreed. I did that, when I just had internet. I currently pay for basic cable, but it was on a $99 per month that included internet, too. I still keep Netflix and Hulu for phone and tablet use.
  • I've been a Hulu subscriber for a number of years now.  I don't mind the commercials and going to $11.99 per month isn't worth it to me.  I'm actually going to stop subscribing now as no shows that I watch are currently running, meaning Hulu has no value to me at the moment. Netflix/Amazon are great for movies and full seasons available.  Hulu is great as a DVR replacement for regular TV seasons.  I don't subscribe to cable, I get OTA channels.  If I don't catch a show I like live, Hulu is great to catch it the next day or whenever at my conveninece.  But when nothing is running, I see little other value. I was excited to see that they were getting AMC shows, but unlike other networks which air their shows the day after it airs live, the AMC ones only come in a bundle after the season is over...not helpful. When some shows start back up that I want to watch, I'll resubscribe.
  • My same position on Hulu.  I ended my subscription months ago.
  • Most shows run during the fall/winter months because in summer....wait for it....the weather is good enough for people to be outside ;). There'll be better shows come probably mid-late September or October.
  • Sorry but I prefer Netflix. Cheaper and with more content choices IMO.
  • As noted above, they're not the same. Hulu does a lot of TV shows that aired the night before vs waiting for full seasons months later on Netflix. Hulu will continue to differentiate itself also through some exclusive media deals e.g. Epix studios, which Netflix just lost.
  • Except with Netflix, you truely get a FULL season.  Hulu often cuts parts of seasons out after a short time run on some.  I'd rather get a full season instead of a partial season like Hulu does.
  • True, on Netflix you get a full season... some shows you even get multiple full seasons, and some missing seasons. More often that not you get Season 1 with no follow up seasons. Neither of these services provide everything.
    Netflix is great for back catalog and kids shows, Hulu is great for current content. Two very different things for very different uses.
  • I would agree, but the one plus that Hulu has is that it runs current season shows.  If you watch shows on ABC/CBS/FOX, etc you can get them without waiting for the entire season to be over and released.
  • Not the case for CBS they allow very few shows on any streaming service and have made their own. (CBS all access) Think, have you ever seen big bang theory on Hulu? No Hulu was created by a group of networks ABC NBC and a few others i can't remember. CBS has the best ratings so they keep all the $$ for themselves.
  • You can watch all those shows after they air on their own sites. At least I know fox and nbc do.
  • Wasn't there going to be a total free ad supported version? Maybe my memory is failing me.
  • I think this is it...with an asterisk
  • This is the total opposite. Ad free at a rate. I believe there was rumors of rate free with heavy ads.
  • You can watch totally free ad supported Hulu from a web browser. But only from a laptop or desktop. Mobile users must use the subscription service.
  • Do you need to subscribe with a credit card anyways?
  • LOL.  Headline says "No Ads...Commercial-Free", but it's not for all shows.  What is wrong with Hulu?  Why can't these guys get it together?
  • Did you read the whole article or skim it? It says the exact reason why, they don't have the rights to certain shows, they are still working on those but its a small amount and it sounds like it just a commercial before and after so, not too terrible.
  • I think he read it right. Chris_Kez is basically just saying that it's synthetically ad-free or ad-free* with an asterisk (while still paying a premium). If it's not all or nothing, then go home.
  • Yes, I read the whole thing. I'd be more inclined to cut them some slack if they hadn't already made consumers muddle through the pointlessly confusing Hulu vs. Hulu Plus distinction for several years, or foisted thousands of useless "clips" upon us.
  • They need to be sued for using "ad free" in their promotion, when it obviously is not.  Even it if is partially ad free, it's not in any way ad free, asterisk or not.
  • You do realize that Hulu can't just make that happen, right? There are contacts, licensing, and even companies who won't let their programs are without ads.
  • Again I'd be more inclined to cut them some slack if they hadn't jerked people around with the whole Hulu vs. Hulu Plus thing. Also, these guys own the content; not my problem if they can't negotiate better with themselves. Are we to believe that licensing restrictions for 95% of the content coincidentally freed up at the same time? They couldn't have done this sooner with 60% or 70% or 80%. Honestly I don't particularly care very much. It's just funny/sad that it has taken them this long to get where they are; or should I say get mostly there.
  • Hulu is owned by NBC, Fox, and Disney. The shows with ads come from those three owners. They totally could've kept those completely ad free if they wanted to. The shows are just too popular, so they know people will still watch them.
  • I understand that they don't own the rights but I just wonder how long it will be before a majority of the content is included in the askterisk.
  • Hulu needs to go away. A money grab by the large media corporations (Fox, NBC, ABC or Fox, Comcast, Disney). They price gouge and hoard content with subpar service. 
  • Pretty dumb thing to say. What service can replace it at such a low cost?
  • What's the alternative? You want an Xbox app for each channel that requires a cable subscription? Fox, Comedy Central, etc. all require you to login. If anything, Hulu keeps those corps at bay. If you pair Netflix + Hulu and get rid of cable TV, that's a huge savings for many people.
  • The only alternative would be TiVo or Channel Master DVR's. $300-500+. At the $12/month price of Hulu+, it would take 25 months to pay for the $300 DVR. Good OTA reception required. Having an app for each channel wouldn't be a bad thing, but it wouldn't be necessarily a good thing either, especially on the 360. It would be cool if each network app gave notifications of when a new episode in your favorites was available and when it will be removed. Most networks have the last 5 episodes on their website for free for a certain length of time. If those were avaliable for free on each app, I would possibly go purchase an Xbox One (maybe 2). Hulu makes it convenient to have everything in 1 app. Too bad CBS won't join up.
  • I disagree Moej.  I have a TiVo, and it still remains a far better experience than anything Hulu has ever offered.  I cancelled my Hulu subscription earlier this year after they trimmed tons of content out, and increased commercials.  At $12 it's too much too late.
  • I don't have cable and I don't live in US so Netflix and Hulu are great options.... Although Hulu plus giving troubles with VPN though..
  • $99 a month for cable and Internet where I live vs. $11.99 (or hell, even $7.99 a month for ads) + $25 internet only + $8.99 Netflix. More than half savings for being a cable cutter...screw the old, live in the new! ;)
  • Stop watching tv and enjoy nature more :)
  • Nature is always too hot, too cold, or infested with bugs. The great indoors are where its at!
  • It is about time Hulu has a non-commercial (well, almost) option.  I got a month trial of Hulu to watch one English program I was interested in.  But the commercials were SO annyoying and the same ones were repeated over an over, I cancelled before I had to start paying.  I think $11.95 is too expensive for just the conveninece of watching some old TV shows, so I'm going to pass.  NetFlix has better pricing (although I know they have different programming than Hulu) but perhaps $9.95 (under $10) would have been a better price for Hulu (especially since not ALL programs are going to be commercial free. IMO, $144 a year just sounds too expensive.
  • I though the main point of the paid subscription was to eliminate ads anyway. Other than the ability to use Hulu Plus apps instead of a web browser, what benefits do you get with a $7.99 subscription?
  • It's worth it to me to pay the $7.99 a month to watch from my Roku on my couch in front of a 47" TV. I really don't like watching T.V. or movies sitting at my desk staring at a 21" monitor. But that's just me, to each his own.
  • I have a pc connected to my 55" tv so i stream bith netflix and hulu, problem solved for me
  • Mostly, the benefit of having all your shows in one place rather than having to juggle a dozen different websites and/ or apps.
  • Except they usually don't have "all shows", many times having only a handful of episodes per season, and often not having shows until a week after they first run.  And, yes, this is on the paidsubscription.  Hulu is a ripoff IMHO.
  • The $7.99 sub has "fewer" ads than the free web browser option. I started the $7.99 sub again a month or 2 ago. Commercials are 1-5 per break and they run (i think) 15-30 sec each. Still way better than prime time commercials running for over 5 min per break.   Edit: Oh! and the shows are avaliable 2 days after air instead of 5 or 6 days.
  • Okay, I was just curious. I'm a Windows Media Center user with a PC connected to my TV. I use Hulu via Internet Explorer when I need to, but that is only on the rare occasion that I miss recording a show. I'm way behind on my TV viewing of most series that I follow, so I haven't noticed the time delay for new episodes before.
  • I'm thoroughly surprised that they offered this. I had a blind hatred of Hulu because of their repetitive commercials and double-dipping (paid service and ads). I didn't think they'd really follow through with it. I think $11.99 is a fair price as well (since they're taking a lot of Amazon and Netflix's previous offerings). You figure HBO Now is $15/month for one channel and Sling TV is $20/month for ads and doesn't offer VOD. I might grab a month or two to catch some shows I've missed. I'm truly surprised.
  • Sling TV has video on demand, not for all channels though.
  • Don't you have to pay additional money for the Sling VOD though?
  • That's what the fuck th $7.99 option was supposed to be.  See, there was Hulu and Hulu Plus.  Hulu was free with limited content and ads while Hulu Plus was $7.99 with one or less ads.   Now Hulu Plus is the new Hulu.
  • Actually Hulu is the new Hulu plus... They dropped the plus naming.
  • Good for those who have wanted this. Personally, I can deal with commercials and ads 
  • Still US only ain't it tho?
  • yes, but you can use it outside the US with a VPN or DNS service. I got a Hulu Plus 12-month sub on eBay for $40
  • Sorry, too little too late too expensive.  I get no commercials on Netflix for $8/month.  Plus Hulu does not stream ALL shows in a series making using it very difficult for what I'd bother paying for it.
  • So add together hulu, netflix and sling and I'm at half of my cable bill with none of the movie channels, sports, dvr and convenience or quality. I'm happy to stick with cable for now.
  • If you have Sling, you get the Sports and Convenience that cable offers. Though, I find being able to launch an app and play it anywhere in my house to be more convenient than running a cable to a stationary box. Quality of the video might depend on your Cable Provider but I know on Comcast, streaming video quality is MUCH better than their typical set-top HD boxes.
  • VOD with cable login is about as convenient as it gets, any channel any device. How's that nfl, nba, mbl, soccer and nhl on sling? That's right, it's espn and nothing else, no thanks. I watch tv on my tv, or my mobile device that cable allows me. Cord cutting just doesn't cut it for me yet, glad it works for you.
  • I'll check it out agian. been a HTPC user or "cord cutter" since 2006. Always hated paying for ads with Hulu, ads are my 1# gripe next to streaming issues and no DD Plus (only Netflix has that). Hulu ads are the worst becuase most of the time it's the same damn one over and over and the old method of blasting the volume above the shows level. I cancel all the time but havent had it for a little over a year.    
  • My biggest complaint (besides ads) about Hulu is that once the "current" content scrolls off the availablity list, you can't watch it. So, if I don't watch a season of some show then finally decide it's something I might want to watch, Season 1, episode 1 are gone. I won't watch a show that I can't watch from the beginning.
  • I agree!
  • About time!!!! I unsubscribed due to ads... Now, they need to fix their interface. I still will not subscribe again.. It's $4 too much now, lol. The commercials sucked so bad... Repeated ads and no fast forwarding to the end of a segment without pausing for them.
  • I'll stick to the 7.99 plan. If its not completely ad free then its a waste of money for me. Until they can completely 100% offer me ad free content I'ma just stick with what I have. Ads dont bother me. I consider them as breaks to piss, refill my glass, etc lol
  • Left Hulu Plus a long time ago due to paying for commercials. I will absolutely give this a shot!
  • Not fair. What does Hulu has Netflix doesn't at the same price without ads?
  • Current content. Netflix has a long delay (at least in my opinion). I don't think I could be part of the Netflix subs. Having such a delay to watch what I want to watch, sucks.