Hulu announces free viewing coming to mobile this summer


At Hulu’s Upfront event in New York today, the streaming media company announced some interesting news for cable cutters and entertainment indulgers. Beginning this summer, viewers without paid Hulu Plus accounts will be able to view full episodes of TV shows via the Hulu mobile apps at no cost. The content will still be ad-supported, of course, as even paid members are exposed to advertising, but content will include full TV episodes. Currently, only Hulu members with a paid subscription can access content on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad and free viewing is restricted to the web. Additionally, Hulu says the company will release “the next generation” of its Hulu Plus app for iPhone around the same time this summer.

In addition to news that the company will allow streaming of full TV episode on mobile devices for the first time, Hulu also announced a new format for advertising while viewing content.

Specifically, Hulu announced “in-stream purchase units” that will allow users to directly interact with ads without being pulled away from the content (aside from the time it takes to deliver an action).

We will be rolling out the first ever “In-Stream Purchase Unit” later this year with Pizza Hut as our launch partner. The unit will enable consumers to make an order for pick-up or delivery without ever leaving the Hulu environment. With our effective targeting capabilities, this new innovation allows advertisers to target the right demographic, at the right time – all while allowing viewers to immediately pick up where they left off once their order is placed.

While most users, especially paid subscribers, would probably prefer to experience an ad-free version of Hulu, it’s certainly interesting to see the company take advantage of modern technologies in advertising potentially making the platform much more viable in the long run.

Hulu also announced to it has surpassed 6 million paid subscribers to its service. For perspective, Netflix recently reported 44 million customers, albeit without revenue from advertising during content streaming.



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  1. PMZanetti - 9 years ago

    I really can’t take the Ads on Hulu anymore. Its just not worth it. In a 45 min episode, 6 Ad breaks with 3 Ads per break, and usually the SAME 3 Ads every single break. Its infuriating. I’m pretty close to canceling, and would have already if the family wasn’t attached to some of the ad-free content on there (yes there is some).

    • Gabriel Denis - 9 years ago

      i feeling the same, give us ad free and something like dvr or off line viewing capability when the consumer on a mobile device needs to be aware of data usage, take you favorite show the next day But on the go. Give us the user more control.

    • Makeli Scholer - 9 years ago

      No joke, one show with a broadcast runtime of 1 hour, my wife and I watched uninterrupted took 1 hour and 8 minutes to finish. That is insane. Hulu pushes ads way past what any normal person would expect. We haven’t subscribed in years to H+ because it is morally wrong to charge someone AND show ads.

  2. c1ce091b - 9 years ago

    I agree, the Ads disrupt the viewing experience of shows or movies and is a big reason I stopped watching commercial TV and any streaming service which interjects the viewer’s experience with propaganda. What’s with all those popup advertisements that are displayed while watching a show or movie? I hate those. I don’t purchase TV shows that have ads as well, I don’t care where they put those ads, I don’t want them PERIOD. If I am paying for that material, I don’t want to be subjected to ads as well. I am paying for the right to avoid that junk!

    • Joshua Miller - 9 years ago

      honestly they need to raise the price by 10 or 20 for that to happen. i understand that pain because those ads all the time, but there has to be something about the content providers that tells them to keep ads even if someone is paying for the membership

  3. Aaron Powell - 9 years ago

    One of the reasons I canceled Hulu plus before my trial was up. What am i paying hulu for? If there are tons of ads,and limited content? With all those ad’s it should be 100% free.

  4. Maybe I’m alone here, but I would gladly pay $20-30 per month to get an ad free experience. The ad breaks just get longer and longer and if you skip around you have to watch them multiple times.

    • Makeli Scholer - 9 years ago

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Joshua Miller - 9 years ago

      so true…if they made it $20-30 with no ads and a few other features for paying I’d gladly pay for it no questions asked…kind of ridiculous but probably something they haven’t worked out with content providers even if it would really help…

  5. Shawn M Espinosa - 9 years ago

    so… if hulu is offering free, ad-based content come the summer, why would anyone continue to pay? what are the benefits, since ridiculous ads will still be there?

    • Joshua Miller - 9 years ago

      The content available for free would probably be the same content available on web for non payers….they’re just letting people who don’t pay(from my understanding) watch anywhere without having to pay but still probably restricted to the same content as if they were watching it on the web


Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.