As you probably know already, Hulu is a popular streaming service throughout the world, boasting a number of great new shows and classic programs that customers can stream and watch to their heart’s content.
However, one thing that customers do not care for is the advertisements, which have become synonymous with the platform, and many consider to be an untimely, unwanted interruption between them and their favorite content.
So why exactly does Hulu have ads, and what would be the alternative?
Hulu: A History
Formed in 2007, Hulu was initially started by Bruce Campbell, Peter Churnin, JB Perette, Mike Lang, Beth Comstock, George Kliavkoff, Darren Feher, and Jason Kilar.
Initially intended to operate along with AOL, NBC Universal, MSN, MySpace, and Yahoo, Hulu eventually became a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, who remain a majority shareholder.
Hulu: The Business Model
Hulu has two main services they offer in their modern business model: a Hulu on demand service, and a Hulu + live TV service.
Hulu On Demand
Launching their subscription service in 2010, this has now become the default package purchased by customers all around the world.
The general deal has tended to involve a cheaper price with advertisements, and a slightly pricier package for an ad-free experience, allowing those with the means to opt for the pricier model, and those who either don’t mind or can’t afford to choose the cheaper one.
Hulu + Live TV
Announced in 2016, this feature became available to customers looking for the ability to record and watch live television shows, watch through multiple screens or devices around the home, an on-demand service giving you access to a library of shows and movies, and the option to add additional channels.
Hulu & Ads: The Facts
However, this common bugbear isn’t done just for the hell of it, and the inclusion of advertisements actually serves an important purpose.
Ultimately, the reason behind this occurrence comes down to the somewhat archaic rights surrounding ownership and streaming rights.
For this reason, even on the ‘no ads’ plan, you will still see advertisements for certain shows and movies.
This is true of shows and movies that are not owned by Disney or Hulu, and the ads are a way of Hulu paying the owner companies for the rights to stream their content.
For content owned by Disney and Hulu, you will not have to experience any of this advertising, and you can enjoy your favorite shows and movies without being interrupted.
Hulu & Ads: The Problem
There are a couple of main reasons why fans and customers get so annoyed by this occurrence.
The main reason is that they do not like to be interrupted when watching their favorite shows and movies.
Afterall, there is nothing worse than being at a pivotal point in the plot of the season finale, and then all of a sudden you cut to an ad for detergent at the crucial moment.
It’s certainly frustrating, and can certainly strip some of the drama and impact of those scenes.
However, there is also another reason: misrepresentation.
Many customers who have spent more money to purchase a ‘no ads’ package are understandably annoyed and angry when they are then confronted by advertisements on certain shows and movies.
And even though they might understand the reasoning behind this, they would probably argue that paying a premium should help to pay the owners of outside content?
But apparently not, and the company still makes this a common practice on all content not owned by Hulu or Disney.
The fact of the matter is the title: no ads.
If it was named something different and more vague, then customers wouldn’t have anywhere near the same grounds for complaint, but the sheer fact that they are having to pay more for a no ads experience that still includes advertisements is a source of contention and annoyance for many.
However, this kind of behavior isn’t just reserved for the basic package. Customers who have purchased the Hulu + live TV package are also subject to paywalls and reserved privileges – namely in the form of DVR recording.
Regular & Enhanced Cloud DVR
Customers who have purchased the basic package will have the option to record shows and movies using the Cloud DVR system, allowing them to save and rewatch live content whenever they choose.
However, with the basic package, they do not have the ability to fast forward through this content, meaning they have to sit and watch the ads in real time.
This might not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but when you think that they are already paying a premium for this package, you would think this feature would be included.
This isn’t the case though, and those irked customers desperate for the ability to fast forward through annoying ads will have to upgrade to the enhanced package for the pleasure to do so.
Can Anything Be Done?
Proponents of Hulu have long since accepted that this is the price to pay for that particular package, and unfortunately, this might be the best way to approach it.
Of course, one option – if this really is a sore point for you – is to cancel your Hulu subscription and change to another streaming service.
While this might have the disadvantage of having different shows, there are thankfully numerous good companies out there now who offer simpler, better services, and are as such worth exploring.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about Hulu, their business model, and the reason they include ads with their streaming service.
Despite this, Hulu remains a consistently popular choice for many, and in a wide marketplace of services, they manage to comfortably hold their own and achieve success under Disney’s guiding hand.