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Television Media The Almighty Buck The Internet Entertainment

Hulu Lowers Prices After Netflix Raises Theirs (variety.com) 108

Coincidentally, as Netflix raised their prices last week, Hulu decided to lower theirs. The streaming service is now offering a plan, which includes commercials, for $5.99 per month for the first year -- a short-term promotion aimed at luring new subs with the kickoff of the fall television and Hulu's expanded TV library lineup. Variety reports: Hulu's special offer for the limited-commercials plan is available through Jan. 9, 2018, only to new or returning Hulu subs. After one year, the regular $7.99 monthly price will kick in. Hulu offers a commercial-free option for $12 per month, and a live TV service (which includes access to original series like Emmy-winning "The Handmaid's Tale" and on-demand titles) for $40 monthly. A Hulu rep said the company's new promo is intended to draft off the fall 2017 TV season. As it looks for another original series on the order of "Handmaid's Tale" -- so far its only breakout hit -- Hulu has inked deals to bring thousands of current and older TV shows to the platform to armor-up in its battle with rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Hulu Lowers Prices After Netflix Raises Theirs

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  • Lower? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quirkz ( 1206400 ) <ross@quirkOOOz.com minus threevowels> on Monday October 09, 2017 @06:52PM (#55339413) Homepage

    I'm sorry, but "new promotional rates" is not lowering prices.

    1. It doesn't reduce anything for anyone who is already paying.
    2. It's a promotional rate. The regular rate is the same.

    So, it's a temporary sale to lure in new subscribers. That's different.

    • And it only applies to the lowest tier. The normal version without any commercials is same as Netflix price. The more expensive "live TV" version is kind of useless without a DVR like feature (we've had DVRs and VCRs so long now that few people watch TV live anymore except for sports).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        I don't understand people who pay for commercial, pay for someone to enter their lounge room and scream at them about shit they don't want. Once you start going largely commercial free, those commercial when you occasionally come across, come across as extremely aggressive and loud, hugely undesirable and really put you off products. There are products they I totally avoid as a result of aggressive commercial placement and a very loud and aggravating style. If people behaved like commercial did, wander into

    • They need it. They beat their UI ober the head with an ugly stick and decided to get rid of any kind of usability at the same time. People are threatening to cancel right and left. My own subscription expires at midnight tonight.
    • Also useless considering that Hulu's potential user base is 300m people in the US, whereas Netflix has a global potential user base. Until Hulu is available elsewhere they're fighting over a tiny piece of the pie. As one of the non US Netflix subscribers, Hulu could offer to GIVE me $500/mo to ditch Netflix for them and I still probably wouldn't do it because I can't actually use Hulu. Well, maybe I would do that for a few months and then go binge Netflix afterward... because that's a lot of money to jus

  • Seems only fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @06:57PM (#55339445) Journal

    which includes commercials, for $5.99 per month for the first year

    I pay $5.99 for the privilege of watching your commercials?

    Tell you what, I'll sign up when the CEO of Hulu comes and sucks my hairy balls. And I'll only charge him $5.99 and he has to listen to me talk about my fantasy football team and the cute thing my cat did. For three hours. While he sucks my hairy balls.

    Honestly, the cheek of these bastards. Do they not know how the whole idea of "commercials" works?

    • It's exactly the same as the cable companies do...

      • Re: Seems only fair (Score:5, Interesting)

        by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @07:34PM (#55339679)

        >"It's exactly the same as the cable companies do..."

        No it isn't, not even close. With cable, anyone with any brain uses a DVR (I use a TiVo) and skips the commercials. Streaming, on the other hand, can FORCE commercial viewing, and that is exactly what Hulu does- forced commercials.

        And with cable/DVR, you can record what you want for later viewing, and without a live Internet connection. Streaming video and your Internet goes down? Too bad. No more video.

        And with cable/DVR, I can record hundreds of hours of video and it doesn't impact my Internet speed at all. And my Internet usage doesn't impact video at all. Never any dropping of resolution spontaneously, no missing frames, no freezing.

        And with cable/DVR, I can pause, play, rewind, fast forward, and frame-by-frame effectively with my video. And it does so instantly- no lag, no "loading", no hiccups.

        So no, this is not "exactly the same as cable."

        I don't care if Hulu with commercials was FREE, if it has forced commercials, neither I nor many others will use it. I haven't watched commercials (unless I WANT to) for over 16 years and I will NEVER go back.

        • And the drawbacks to cable/DVR - no on-demand shows (except a few curated ones), a limited selection of shows at any time, amazingly overpriced subscription fees, and terrible service.

          I don't like commercials, but compared to cable/DVR I'd rather have Hulu with commercials. And Hulu has the option to pay more for no commercials anyway, same price as Netflix. The super-cheap option is subsidized by commercials.

          And I do think the "subsidized by commercials" is a bad deal. If they make enough money on broadc

          • >"I don't like commercials, but compared to cable/DVR I'd rather have Hulu with commercials."

            Choice is a good thing. Free markets give consumers more of what they want. I, for one, am glad Hulu exists even though I have no interest in at least their commercial model, because it spurs more competition. In the past we had none and it is about time the cable monopolies fall under real pressure.

  • by HBI ( 604924 )

    I don't think people want Hulu. Having a promo price isn't going to change that. It's a service without much of a premise, and doesn't have any other business to bundle its service with to get subscribers, either. Netflix got where it was by mailing DVDs. What did Hulu ever do that people found even marginally interesting?

    • It has a commercial-free tier, with some network-exclusive content. That was the only time they interested me. I'd have never paid them to watch commercials. Once you go commercial free, you really can't go back.

      Only it was "mostly" commercial free (a few exceptions). And they also pasted a bug in the corner of the screen advertising the local affiliate station, which was distracting to me (that's an awesome way to make torrents look better than paid subscriptions). And I found I just didn't watch all

    • Hulu has 17% of the market and climbing. Some people clearly want it.

    • Netflix also got there by having streaming early on that was better than Hulu and without commercials.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To even mention the limited commercials price is extremely misleading.

    What I see in the article is that Netflix offers a $7.99 / month plan for a single stream non-HD commercial-free stream or $10.99 / month for the standard HD plan, and Hulu's lowest commercial free option is apparently $12 / month.

    So, the article says Hulu is more expensive than Netflix unless you're willing to listen to commercials at which time it becomes the same price as the lowest price commercial-free Netflix plan (after the bait-a

  • by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @07:09PM (#55339523)
    Hulu would have to pay me $5.99 a month.
    • If the amount of money they say my watching commcercials can earn companies, they owe me $10/month as the very least.

  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @07:16PM (#55339557) Homepage

    I noticed that Hulu recently increased the numbers ads in between breaks: I believe from 4 to 5 now. It seems close to interminable. In some cases recently I've finished my dinner and just shut off the program before it could get back.

    Since it's inception they've been ratcheting up the ads per break. I think 2 to begin with, now up to 5. I wonder where the end-point is.

    • Holy crap. Broadcast TV doesn't even show that many ads at the breaks.

    • by tmjva ( 226065 )
      It isn't the ads, its the reduced content over time they used to offer.  Show I've seen over the years simply "go missing" what's up with that?
  • Torrents (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 09, 2017 @07:18PM (#55339575)

    Are offering a very competitive rate. You pay $0 per month, which comes out to $0 per year. Torrents are also commercial free. They offer an impressive library of new and old content including access to original series like Emmy-winning "The Handmaid's Tale." Compared to Netflix and Hulu offerings this is an impressive deal indeed, and it's not some kind of teaser rate that expires after a few months. The $0 fees for torrents are going to last well beyond the 2017 season.

  • by FerociousFerret ( 533780 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @07:42PM (#55339751)
    I think this promotion is to try to deal with the massive rejection of the "New Hulu Experience", i.e. the new interface that sucks and has received massive negative feedback. Hulu has no plans to go back to the previous interface. Many are voting with their wallet, myself included, and dropping Hulu.
    • I know I am seriously thinking of dropping Hulu because of their horrible UI.
      Probably will next week---after getting my antenna installed.

      • Came here to day this. My gut reaction is that this has nothing to do with Netflix and everything to do with losing subscribers. I dropped because of the new UI. It's not just a "change is bad" reaction either. If the new changes were mostly usable, I would adapt. I left because bad change is bad and I'll keep my couple of bucks and put it into an external antenna. The mohu does OK but now it's time to get serious.

  • The whole point of moving to streaming is to get away from the 10-15 minutes of commercials. It's way past the point of ridiculous. I can't even watch regular TV anymore. Netflix+Prime has allowed me to ditch the ads, and I ain't never going back!

    If Hulu is ADDING to the number of ads, I don't really expect them to be around much longer...

    • I haven't have any complaints with their $11.99 ad-free service. The extra money is well worth it.

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        I love being able to watch a 1 hour show in 45 minutes the day after it airs.

        This time of year it's the service I use most.

  • by nobuddy ( 952985 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @08:19PM (#55340021) Homepage Journal

    All they need to do now us roll back that useless FUBAR interface they pushed out recently. Thats why they are hemorrhaging subscribers.

    • If you want to see what shows that are on your watch list you can only see 2 shows instead of 12. A quick google will take you to 100s of negative comments but maybe 1 or 2 positive ones.
  • On the one hand, I'm happy to see anyone taking Netflix down a notch.

    On the other hand, Hulu is the team effort of Disney, Fox, and Comcast -- and I can't really cheer for any of those guys.

  • AND want you to watch ads? Huh. That sounds familiar for some reason ... and equally odious.

  • by No Longer an AC ( 4611353 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @10:16PM (#55340573)

    But I will never pay for Hulu.

    Netflix isn't perfect and the price increase is mildly annoying I guess. One more dollar a month? I can deal with it. Hulu with no commercials is still more expensive and I still haven't finished watching everything I want to watch on Netflix.

    And compared to what I was paying for cable before I cut the cord it's completely insignificant.

    But why is Netflix raising their prices by a whole dollar considered news anyway?

    Is it news when Comcast raises the price of their service by more than that or when they drop a bunch of channels from the basic plan?

    One thing that's great about Netflix is I know how much it will cost from month to month and if there's ever a price increase Slashdot or some other internet news will warn me about it - lord knows Netflix never talks to me. I don't even know if they have a current email address.

    But with cable TV you never know what your monthly bill will be and if they tell you one price you know they're neglecting a bunch of add-on fees and it will go up or channels will be removed.

    With Netflix, I guess I'll lose Disney movies but I haven't even mustered up the patience to watch that Star Wars movie that's on Netflix because there's other stuff I'd rather watch.

  • by MrDoh! ( 71235 ) on Monday October 09, 2017 @11:32PM (#55340871) Homepage Journal
    After the change to the watchlist that instead of just being the programs I wanted to watch in the order I wanted to watch, setting + on a season, I just got so frustrated with their new watchlist that I 'tuned out'. Sent them a 'please return it how it was, it worked' message and got the "no, you're wrong, this is far better way to manage your subscriptions" response. Then not having anything new to watch for months on end, but it dropping things I'd previously subbed to. Then adding programs I didn't want to watch in my list because they thought I might be interested, when I don't even speak spanish, why's it offering me programmes to watch in a language I don't understand? And the ads, oh my goodness the ads. The same ones over and over and over and over. I'd try to adblock but it stopped the site working (fair enough, they need ad revenue I guess), then offered a 'watch without the ads' deal, but I feel the prior months of the same ads over and over and over was just torture to make the new package seems better value. And then those ads that forced you to do some survey. I want to passively watch, not start answering questions on the name of the actor in Magnum PI. And I can't quit/skip unless I mash a few buttons for a bit. I'm just... burned out. Gave up on hulu. It could/should have been great, and there's bound to be later sites that do what early Hulu did, that'll be popular. But what Hulu ended up being, an ad network you have to pay for, that's slow and clunky to use, keeps getting worse every few months, nope, cancelled a month ago.
  • What is this "limited commercials" of which Hulu speaks? I've got that subscription and a single 45 minute episode of Shark Tank has 6 commercail breaks of 2 minutes each. How is 20% of the running time being commercials being "limited"?
  • As others have said, Hulu is offering promotional prices to mitigate losses after an enormous interface blunder. Hulu split their content flagging into 2 systems, Watchlist and MyStuff. But the two systems don't talk to each. The result is that users can "save" shows via the web, but they can't see those shows on their Roku. The same is true in the other direction. Thousands of folks are going to their Roku's, discovering that the interface is new, clunky, and all of their shows and content are missing. Th
    • I didn't notice any missing content on the Roku. But the other day, I was on the iPad, and a bunch of my stuff appeared to be missing.

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