Streaming films and television series over the internet is fast becoming the norm, with traditional television signals seemingly enroute to becoming a thing of the past (albeit very slowly).
For those that can afford the subscription fees and a fast broadband connection, streaming content is the easiest way of staying up-to-date with shows, but of course streaming companies do need to make a profit from it as well.
While providers like Netflix and South Africa’s own ShowMax allow for viewing content without commercial breaks, Hulu is one of the few companies that still interrupt viewing with sponsored content – until now.
For an extra $4 every month, the company announced that it would be introducing a new ad-free tier to its offerings. Pushing the ad-free price up to $12 as opposed to $8, it would make the service more expensive than Netflix and ShowMax.
Side note: Netflix has said that it wants to be in as many countries as possible by the end of 2016, which includes South Africa.
And it’s not even completely ad-free – some shows like New Girl, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder and Grey’s Anatomy will have 15-second ads before and after an episode.
“We did a lot of research on this. We wouldn’t have undertaken this lightly. (This) is not us exiting the ad business at all. We expect ad revenue to grow dramatically,” said CEO Mike Hopkins.
Hulu is not officially available in South Africa, but many internet users in the country opt to access it through a virtual private network (VPN).
At the last count, Hulu had around nine million subscribers worldwide, while Netflix had around 52 million.[Source – Deadline]