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Difference Between Hulu and Hulu Plus

Hulu is a subscription-based video on demand service that offers live and on-demand TV shows and movies for its viewers, both with and without commercials, like other video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and more. Hulu was initially originally in 2007 as a joint venture between NBC Universal, News Corp., and Providence Equity Partners. Jason Kilar was hired as Hulu’s founding chief executive officer in late 2007. After a short beta testing period following users’ feedback, Hulu.com was finally launched for public access in the United States in 2008.

What is Hulu Plus?

Hulu scored big with its Super Bowl Ad featuring Alec Baldwin titled “Alec in Huluwood”. The service started gaining traction as other popular celebrities joined the wagon. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company joined hands with Hulu and became a partner in providing content. Everything was free by then and suddenly that changed too. In 2010, Hulu launched its first subscription-based service to provide its viewers with high-definition content from a larger number of content providers. The service was named “Hulu Plus” and it still had commercials but users had access to more content. In 2015, Hulu decided to remove the Plus branding from its name and the service would simply be named “Hulu”.

On top of the already popular shows and fan favorites from other major content providers, Hulu Plus offered viewers access to exclusives, all-original shows. In 2011, the ownership structure of Hulu had a major reshuffle as Comcast merged with NBC Universal, which then became a silent partner in Hulu business. Later same year, Hulu announced a five-year deal with the CW Network, finally giving the platform access to next-day content from five of the six major networks. In 2017, Hulu announced a new deal with The CW Network, bringing CW’s shows live to Hulu with its new IPTV service – Hulu with Live TV. The service was later renamed as “Hulu + Live TV.”

How much is Hulu?

Hulu was the first video streaming service to add “Plus” to its name back in 2010. Hulu has a simple pricing structure, offering four different plans – two main plans and two ad-free plans.

  • Hulu – Hulu brings thousands of shows and movies, including originals and exclusives to its content offering portfolio, starting at a basic $5.99 per month ($59.99 annually).
  • Hulu (No Ads) – Hulu ‘no commercials’ plan is priced at $11.99 per month, almost double of the basic plan. It offers everything from the basic plan but with no commercials.
  • Hulu + Live TV – Offers everything from the Hulu’s extensive library of content plus access to the feeds of some of the major broadcast partners and cable networks – CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC, and The CW – at $64.99 per month with no cable required.
  • Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV – Hulu offers access to more than 75 TV channels with Live TV as well as 14 ViacomCBS Networks’ feeds, almost everything from the Hulu + Live TV plan, totally ad-free at $70.99 per month.

Is it worth the extra cost?

The base plan at $5.99 per month is arguably one of the cheapest plans out there, even cheaper than Netflix, which starts at a basic $8.99 per month with no HD support and Amazon Prime which costs $119 a year. Well, it does come with limited commercials, but if you wish to watch ad-free, you have to buy an add-on that costs an additional $6, making it $11.99 per month, which is still an affordable option.

Nothing in Hulu is free, so you have to pay for a subscription of your liking to watch anything on Hulu – like the Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu bundle, which, at $13.99 per month, sounds like a great deal for three streaming services. Hulu also offers add-ons on top of your current Hulu subscription: HBO Max ($14.99/month), Cinemax ($9.99/month), Showtime ($10.99/month), and Starz ($8.99/month). For the add-ons, you had to have subscribed to a base plan to enjoy the best of both the worlds.

Which Hulu Plan is best for you?

At rough $6 per month, the Basic Hulu is probably the best bang for your buck, offering a curated selection of on-demand movies and Hulu originals like already popular The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock, PEN 15, Shrill, and a bunch of other popular network and cable TV shows. Hulu is getting better day by day, and now Disney controls the majority of Hulu, you can expect to see the best of both the worlds. Although, the Basic Hulu comes with lots of ads, with some ads featuring multiple times, especially if you’re binge watching the entire show. So, if the ads don’t bother you and you don’t have any problem waiting for a couple of days to watch your favorite shows, you’re probably better off with the Basic Hulu or you can always opt for the ad-free version anytime you want.

Hulu vs. Hulu Plus

The online video streaming platform started off as a free service and you could watch everything absolutely free of cost. There were fewer commercials though. Then, Hulu launched its first paid service called Hulu Plus, which offered viewers access to a much larger library of content with limited ads. On April 29, 2015, Hulu informed its subscribers that they would discontinue the Hulu Plus service, which would ultimately be renamed simply as Hulu. So, from that day onwards, Hulu Plus became Hulu. The idea behind the Plus still remains, considering nothing in Hulu is free anymore.

Summary

In many ways, Hulu is an ideal on-demand video streaming platform for television fans who want to enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows online while keeping up with their favorite television shows without paying the heft cable fees that comes with the packaged service. If binge watching is your thing and you do not want to miss your favorite TV shows, the basic Hulu plan is more than enough to keep you busy, only if you don’t mind the commercials. But, if you want to have a no-ads viewing experience, you can pay a little extra, which still is well within your budget.


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    References :


    [0]Wang, Jim. “Hulu Plus – Is It Worth the Extra Cost?.” wallethacks.com, Best Wallet Hacks, wallethacks.com/hulu-plus-review/. Accessed 13 May 2021.

    [1]Font, Vince. “Hulu Plus vs. Hulu: Why Pay When You Can Get It for Free?.” Notebook Review, TechTarget, notebookreview.com/feature/hulu-plus-vs-hulu-why-pay-when-you-can-get-it-for-free/. Accessed 13 May 2021.

    [2]Image credit: https://live.staticflickr.com/8165/7452137040_8972f4f520_z.jpg

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