In that's probably a good idea news, Hulu is considering chilling out a little bit when it comes to ads on Hulu Plus.
Any subscriber (or former subscriber) of Hulu Plus knows the soul-crushing despair that comes with paying $7.99 a month for a service and still having to sit through ads. It's a terrible pain in the ass. For those people, relief could be on the way – at least a little bit.
The NY Post is reporting that Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins is concerned about the ad load on Hulu Plus and is seriously thinking about doing something about it. From the Post:
CEO Mike Hopkins, who took the helm in May, is considering cutting back the number of ads that appear on Hulu Plus, the $7.99-a-month paid tier of the online streaming service, The Post has learned.
While no decision has been made, an executive close to the company said Hulu and its media partners are “always looking at a variety of ways to create the best possible experience for our viewers and advertisers including reducing the ad load.”
The Post also points out just how much Hulu Plus has gone overboard with the in-content advertising, noting a comScore report that showed Hulu showed users an average of 82.3 ads a month. By comparison, YouTube only showed users 32.3 on average. Sure, the content viewing habits associated with Hulu Plus and YouTube are different – mainly time on video – but that's still a pretty staggering number considering how many ads are all over YouTube.
So, with all the ads on Hulu Plus, why do people pay for it? The reality is that for a fan of network television, Hulu Plus is really the only streaming service that's quick on the draw with new episodes. Hulu has film collections (notably a great selection of Criterion stuff), but it's the hyper-current TV offerings that set Hulu apart from other services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.
But Hulu Plus is beginning to turn a corner – or is at least attempting to.
Hulu is making originals – just like Netflix and Amazon. They haven't received a ton of attention, but that could change pretty soon. Not only has Hulu picked up the fan-favorite but short-lived Party Down, but the company has also greenlit a new series based on Stephen King's 11/22/63.
As Hulu Plus looks to bat in the big leagues, the concern, apart from monetization, must be user acquisition and retention. It's hard to sit through 82 ads a month, pay $7.99, and feel like something isn't a little messed up.