R.I.P. free Hulu. To all of us taking advantage of the streaming platform’s freebies, that will all soon come to an end as Hulu announced it will become a subscription-only service in the weeks ahead.
Since launching in 2007, Hulu has diversified itself from a content-streamer to developing its own original content, like Difficult People and Casual, as well as landing exclusive streaming options as part of movie and TV deals. All the while, the platform has been allowing users the free benefit of watching the most recent episodes from a few shows on NBC, ABC, and Fox with an eight-day delay. However, this has become a low-trafficked service, and now will be phased out within the next few weeks.
Users will now have two subscription options: the $7.99 per month plan that includes commercials, or the commercial free $11.99 per month plan.
The good news is that “free Hulu” will essentially be repackaged as Yahoo View, a part of Hulu’s deal with Yahoo. It’ll be the same scenario: users will be able to watch the last five episodes of ABC, NBC, and Fox shows for free with an eight-day delay.
Hulu Senior Vice President and Head of Experience Ben Smith said (via THR):
For the past couple years, we’ve been focused on building a subscription service that provides the deepest, most personalized content experience possible to our viewers. As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy.
The fact of the matter is that Hulu still needs to catch up with streaming head honcho Netflix and even Amazon. As noted by USA Today, eMarketer, a research firm, reports Hulu has 67 million subscribers in 2016, while Netflix has 126.9 million and Amazon has 73.2 million.