Hulu Might Soon Let You Watch Its Shows Without Commercials

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Who-lu? Photo: Hulu

File this under "It's about damn time": Hulu may soon offer subscribers a chance to watch its vast library of programming without sitting through (the same four) commercials. According to The Wall Street Journal, execs at the streaming giant have launched an internal project — cutely code-named NOAH ("No Ad Hulu") — to explore the possibility of a new, ad-free subscription tier. But such an option might not come cheap: The Journal says Hulu is mulling a monthly price tag of $12 to $14 per month for the ability to watch shows uninterrupted. That’s much more expensive than the service’s current $8 monthly charge, and higher priced than either Netflix or Amazon Prime. 

Unlike the latter two services, however, Hulu offers next-day reruns of current shows, allowing viewers to watch pretty much in real time (rather than wait until a show’s season has ended). Assuming Hulu makes all of its content, including current network shows, ad-free, it might be a luxury for which some consumers would opt. Hulu also doesn’t want to make switching to the ad-free level too attractive: It's built up a nice business selling those "limited commercial interruptions" on its shows. Plus, Hulu's owners include the parent companies of ABC and Fox, both of which also have a vested interest in maintaining an ad-supported ecosystem. No word yet on when Hulu will decide to move forward with NOAH, but the Journal hints it could be as early as this fall.