A couple of interesting messages just appeared from the Hulu Support Twitter account. In several recent responses to subscribers complaining about ads that Hulu plays as part of its premium subscription service, the account tweeted:
“We’re currently an ad-supported service but looking into the option of a higher price ad-free version.”
Hulu has never entirely ruled out an ad-free model, but the tweets come as a bit of a surprise, since Hulu has long maintained its reliance on ads, even for its Hulu Plus service. Rather than going ad-free, like Netflix has done, Hulu Plus has a slightly lighter ad load but also gives subscribers access to a wider library of content.
In an February blog post, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar talked up the value that Hulu provides to content owners in terms of ad revenues, comparing Hulu’s effective ad rates versus those from broadcast DVR and cable DVR. In a more recent blog post, however, Kilar was more bullish on the company’s Hulu Plus subscription service, saying that the company would soon have a million paying subscribers.
The consideration of an ad-free service comes as Hulu has been put up for sale by its owners, which include Fox, Disney and NBC Universal. The message was also tweeted after Fox announced plans to put up a pay wall which would restrict access to shows for eight days unless a viewer has proven he or she is a cable subscriber.