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News Update
Is Hulu Plus Cutting Back On Commercials?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (August 20, 2013) - This is an update on our earlier coverage of Hulu's commercials displayed during programming.

Do you think Hulu Plus, which requires a $7.99 a month subscription, has too many commercials during programming? Well, you're not alone -- and the execs at Hulu may be taking note.

Home Media Magazine reports that web measurement service comScore found that Hulu and Hulu Plus reduced the number of commercials they squeezed in programs in the month of July.

comScore found that Hulu ran 69.2 commercials per viewer in July, compared to 73 in June. That may not seem like a major decline, but it was likely a welcome change for viewers who have been complaining that they have to watch commercials as well as pay a monthly subscription.

The ad drop-off may have just been seasonal, but it also could be part of a new strategy by Hulu's owners to attract new subscribers. The company recently decided not to sell Hulu after multiple bids were submitted and instead opted to try to boost the service with more funding for programming.

Hulu and Hulu Plus offer a mix of new TV show episodes and movies as well as some original content.

Home Media, by the way, notes that YouTube runs just 30 commercials to the average viewer per month so Hulu's ad ratio is still far above the industry norm for a streaming service. Hulu has noted publicly that its advertising revenue allows it to stay in business. The company has more than four million subscribers, but that pales in comparison to Netflix, which has more than 30 million.

Below is our earlier coverage of the issue.

TV Answer Man

Why Does Hulu Plus Have Commercials?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (February 18, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I am a subscriber to Hulu Plus and I like it, particularly for the new episodes of shows that air the day after they air on their networks. But it bugs me that I pay $7.99 a month and they show commercials during the shows. Netflix doesn't do that -- why does Hulu Plus?-- Ed, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ed, you're not the first person to complain about this. Hulu Plus, which costs $7.99 a month, has been frequently criticized for airing commercials during shows, including recent episodes of popular network programs and past episodes of everything from Saturday Night Live to you name it. It should be noted that the commercials are infrequent and usually brief (30 seconds or less), but when you're already paying for the service, it can rub you the wrong way.

However, at its web site, Hulu makes a strong argument that it needs the commercials to generate revenue to buy the rights to episodes of current shows -- and air them the next day. Unlike Netflix, Hulu offers programming within 24 hours of its original airing; Netflix's TV shows are usually offered several months (or more) after they originally aired.

Here's what Hulu says at its web site:

"Hulu Plus offers what no other streaming content service on the market today can: current season episodes of popular shows like Glee, The Office, and Modern Family, and full series runs (all episodes from every season) of popular library shows. We have found that by including a modest ad load, we can keep the price for Hulu Plus under eight bucks, while still providing users with access to the most popular current season shows on the devices of their choice."

I am a subscriber to Hulu Plus myself and I find the ads a modest inconvenience. I wish they weren't there, but I can understand where Hulu is coming from.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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