Hulu Plus Announced: Now You Pay to Watch Commercials on Old Shows

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The official announcement came today, but it's no surprise given that this has been in the works for a while. Hulu Plus, the $9.99/month paid service, is now open to a select few users at a time. The company blog hints that those who follow Hulu on Twitter or Like them on Facebook will get first crack at weekly invitations, but you can also request one here.

For $9.99 a month users will get access to all episodes of a number of popular shows. How is this different from Hulu before Plus? Now you get to pay. To be fair, some shows will be new to the Hulu service and other shows that only offered a few episodes at once will now offer the entire series run. But non-paying customers can look forward to fewer episodes on the free side of the pay wall and likely a smaller window for watching them.

Since the web-based Hulu isn't giving up the Flash-player anytime soon, iOS4 devices (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad) get an app to access Hulu Plus along with certain web-enabled Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players. Access via PlayStation 3 and XBox is coming soon, as are other, unnamed devices. Do you know which devices I do not see on that list? Android phones. Thanks, Hulu.

Another thing I do not see are the words "commercial free" anywhere. That's because Hulu Plus users will still have their shows interrupted by commercials. I wonder if that means non-Plus users will have to sit through more of them? That's something to look forward to. But hey, 720p HD viewing makes up for that, right?

For now I think I will stick with Netflix On Demand. For $5 I can watch commercial-free TV shows and movies, and I still get DVDs to boot.

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2 comments
  • K. T. Bradford Says:

    6 months from now we'll no doubt know the answers to all of this, but my speculation is based on knowledge of how services like this often work. If a bunch of people are willing to pay Hulu to watch TV with ads, then why wouldn't networks move more content behind the paywall faster? And if a bunch of people are willing to pay to watch just one commercial each break, why wouldn't they put more commercials in the free content? It would all be in service of enticing people to pay for Hulu Plus.

    It's true that cable is more expensive and has more commercials. Also true that I can use my DVR to skip those commercials in about the same timeframe as it takes to sit through non-skippable Hulu commercials. I also have a wider variety of current shows to watch.

    I don't personally have cable because none of those things are that important to me, but they are to some.

    Also, Netflix does actually have some episodes of shows available the day after they air.

  • Shannon Says:

    Your article slanders Hulu's great service with silly speculation. Where did you hear that "non-paying customers customers can look forward to fewer episodes ... and a smaller window for watching them"? Why would non-plus users have to sit through more commercials? Do some research before you speak and try to sway people.

    Hulu's CEO did a survey and found that users were willing to pay less, but still have ads rather than pay more for an ad-free service. I think I'd fall into that boat too. Netflix doesn't give you the latest episodes of a show, but rather releases the DVD a couple of months after the fact. Finally, most cable packages are at least 6 times as expensive as plus and show significantly more ads.

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