Hulu today revealed a new plan option that will grant subscribers immunity from the service's embedded advertisements by paying $11.99 each month instead of the traditional $7.99 (via Re/code). Available for new and existing users, Hulu's CEO Mike Hopkins notes that it took months for the various companies and providers available on the service to support the new subscription tier, but he still expects a "solid majority" of people to stick with the $7.99 option.
Hopkins says getting the various rights owners for the Hulu catalog — which includes TV shows from NBC, ABC and Fox, as well as stuff from other networks, plus movies (note the Epix deal it just signed), plus stuff Hulu is creating on its own — to agree to the ad-free option took months.
Hulu is jointly owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and those companies are heavily invested in the business of selling TV ads. Hulu won’t come out and say this out loud, but the 50 percent price jump between the two versions is meant to give most of Hulu’s 9 million subscribers a reason to keep the version they have, and not hasten the erosion of the ad model.
A slight negative for some will come in the new tier's "exception shows," which will present users with bookended ads even when a subscriber is paying $12 per month. From ABC, NBC, and FOX, the seven exception shows are: New Girl, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Marvel's Agents of Shield, and Grimm. Perhaps a minor silver lining: the exception shows won't include the timed ads in the middle of a video and will only include a 15-second pre-show and 30-second post-show commercial.
Users interested in signing up for Hulu Plus, or changing their current subscription to the new option, can do so over on Hulu's official website. The Hulu app is also available to download free from the App Store [Direct Link].