Tag Archive for ‘Hulu’

Disney Announces $12.99 Bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ ➝

This is a great price for all of these services, but I hope they offer a bundle with the ad-free version of Hulu. Maybe something like $18.99 a month? I can’t imagine moving from my existing Hulu plan to the bundle unless there is an ad-free option.

Spotify and Hulu Offering Student Bundle ➝

From Spotify’s press release:

As the new school year gets underway, Spotify and Hulu are partnering to offer U.S. college students the perfect streaming entertainment bundle for their busy lives. Starting today, eligible students can sign up for Spotify Premium for Students, now with Hulu to not only stream music but also their favorite television shows and movies through a single subscription plan, at just $4.99 a month. This is the first step the companies are taking to bundle their services together, with offerings targeted at the broader market to follow.

I’m not a college student, and therefore, I’m unable to partake in this promotion. But I am excited about that last line quoted above — “with offerings targeted at the broader market to follow.” I don’t particularly like the idea of subscription music services. I don’t listen to music on a daily basis, preferring podcasts instead, and I only listen to a handful of new albums each year. But if I had the option to bundle Spotify alongside a service I already pay for at a reduced price, I’d consider it.

Hulu’s New Live-Streaming Service ➝

Peter Kafka, on Hulu’s new live television service:

That $39.95 will get you several dozen channels, which you can watch on your phone or connected TV devices like Xbox and Apple TV; more devices, like Roku, are on the way. It also includes Hulu’s subscription video service, which gives you access to old TV shows and movies, as well as Hulu originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

If you want to spend more, you can pay for extras like a cloud DVR. You can also add Showtime, but not HBO, to the mix.

I’m going to beat this drum until the fad ends or new services quit cropping up. But why would anyone want to pay $40 a month for, what is essentially, a cable subscription that’s transmitted over the internet?

I get it — sports, no long-term commitments. But there must be a better way.

Canceling Netflix

I’ve been a cord cutter for my entire adult life. When I moved into an apartment of my own, at the age of 18, I signed up for cable internet from Time Warner. They tried to up-sell me into one of their bundled deals, but I didn’t want any part of it. I didn’t need anything more than internet access.

At the time — 2006 — I was using a cell phone on my mother’s plan and most of my media viewing was coming from alternative means. Whether it be the discs that Netflix sent me in the mail, video podcasts, TV and movies from the iTunes Store, or video files acquired from a certain pirate-themed website. I didn’t have any reason to pay for cable.

As time has passed, my interest in acquiring content nefariously has all but disappeared. There isn’t much of a point to it anymore. Most of the major content creators have their movies and TV shows available online in an easy to obtain and inexpensive form. It’s taken a long time to get here, but I think the film and TV industry are finally to a point where they can compete with piracy.

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and numerous offerings from just about every provider has made cord cutting an easy decision for a lot of families. It’s usually far less expensive than a cable package and can be consumed on any device you can think of — with a far better interface, to boot. And the best part is, each person can pick and choose which services are best for them.

What’s interesting about that last point is, just about every person I know has a Netflix account — or at the very least, access to one. As the first major player in the subscription streaming video market, Netflix is the default choice for most cord cutters and those even flirting with the idea. The service has mass appeal because of its savvy content dealings and name recognition. And in recent years, they’ve kept subscribers loyal by producing their own shows which are available exclusively on their service.

But I’m here to tell you that I’ve done the unthinkable. Last week, I canceled my Netflix subscription.

There wasn’t any one thing in particular that pushed me to make this decision. The biggest of the bunch, though, is that it had been several weeks since I even launched the app on my Apple TV. Netflix is a wonderful service with plenty of great content, but lately I’ve spent all of my time watching Hulu, YouTube, and my collection of archived DVDs in my Mac mini’s iTunes Library.

I don’t need Netflix anymore because there isn’t anything on the service that’s grabbing my attention the way that Regular Show and Top Chef are on Hulu; Giant Bomb and LinusTechTips are on YouTube; or Boy Meets World is in my iTunes Library. I’d rather watch those than anything Netflix has available.

It’s also worth noting that I was going to be charged for my next month of service — the day after I canceled, coincidentally — at the new $9.99 rate. I had been grandfathered into the old $7.99 rate, but September was the last month they would be honoring the lower price. I can’t say this had any bearing on my decision, though, because I had already decided to cancel when I found out about it.

Don’t get me wrong, this is unlikely to be the end of Netflix for me. Hulu and YouTube have been fantastic lately, but all streaming services grow stale eventually. Once I’ve exhausted the options available from my current services, I’ll probably come back to Netflix. When will that be? I don’t know. But in the mean time, I’ll be more than happy to have an extra $10 in my pocket at the end of each month.

Hulu Is Developing a Cable-Style Online TV Service ➝

Joe Flint and Shalini Ramachandran, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

Hulu is developing a subscription service that would stream feeds of popular broadcast and cable TV channels, people familiar with the plans said, a move that would make the company a competitor to traditional pay-TV providers and other new digital entrants. […]

The company hopes to launch the new cable TV-style online service in the first quarter of 2017, the people said. Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox, which are co-owners of Hulu, are near agreements to license many of their channels for the platform.

Time Warner Wants Hulu To Stop Airing Current Seasons Of TV Shows ➝

Chris Morran, writing for Consumerist:

The Time Warner Inc. umbrella covers a wide range of these channels — CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network — that stand to lose carriage fees and ad revenue every time someone cuts the cord. And while Time Warner apparently believes it can make money selling online access to HBO without requiring basic cable, many of its other properties don’t lend itself as readily to binge-viewing.

According to the Wall Street Journal, that’s why Time Warner is talking to Hulu about ultimately rethinking how the streaming service handles recently aired TV shows.

Hulu would become a lot less valuable if it no longer offered episodes from current seasons. To the point where I might even consider canceling the service altogether if recently-aired episodes were no longer available. But unfortunately for Time Warner, there’s no way I’d ever return to a cable subscription. I cut the cord almost ten years ago and have been happily using alternative entertainment sources like Netflix, iTunes, podcasts, YouTube, etc. ever since.

Hulu Now Offers a Commercial-Free Option ➝

I will gladly pay an additional $4 a month to not see ads. Although, my guess is that I’m part of a loud minority and that most users just want the cheapest price point they can get.

Hulu Explores Adding Ad-Free Option to Its Service ➝

Mike Shields and Shalini Ramachandran, reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

Rivals Netflix and Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Instant Video, meanwhile, have highlighted the fact that they don’t show ads as a key selling point to consumers. Offering an ad-free tier would signal that Hulu recognizes how popular that approach is with many consumers.

Hulu’s code name for the project is “NOAH,” which stands for “No Ads Hulu,” the people familiar with the matter said. One of the people said the ad-free option could launch as early as this fall and be priced at around $12 to $14 a month.

I think I’d more seriously consider adding a Hulu subscription to my monthly entertainment expenses if the service didn’t include ads. I just don’t have time for advertising that’s unskippable and wastes my time.