Hulu is now in the process of tweaking its pricing with some clear winners and losers.
The changes affect customers who are subscribed to the company’s cheapest access point and those subscribed to its most expensive plan.
For those on the standard Hulu plan that offers access to on-demand content, and is already subsidized through the use of ads, the price is set to drop down from its current $7.99 price to $5.99 per month.
The ad-free version of the same plan which typically costs $11.99 per month is not affected by this price change and will remain at the same $11.99 monthly price going forward.
Those who opt to get the live TV fix from the company through its Hulu + Live TV plan will see their cost rising from the current $39.99 per month level to $44.99 per month.
Both price changes are set to take effect starting from February 26 in the US for new customers. Existing subscribers will see the price change highlighted on their first bill following February 26.
This price changing from Hulu comes at an interesting time and is unlikely to be a coincidence considering Netflix recently announced a price hike that’s already in play for new subscribers and will affect all customers in the US over the coming months.
In the past, Netflix has avoiding upping the cost of its most entry-level “Basic” plan as a means to attract consumers who are looking for the most affordable entry point. These plans are cheap by nature as they are designed to transition users over to the service. However, the Basic plan was not exempt from this latest price increase.
Hulu, it would seem, is now looking to capitalize on Netflix's move. Instead of upping its lowest-cost entry-point, it is decreasing the price by $2 and this is a significant amount considering this was an $8 plan to begin with.
Following both changes, Hulu’s entry-level price will be $3 cheaper than Netflix’s, compared to before when the two plans were priced exactly the same.
At the other end of the spectrum, it is not that much of a surprise to see Hulu upping the cost of its live TV plan. These plans have become increasingly competitive over the last couple of years and to the point where margins are razor-thin. Those margins were expected to become even thinner as time went on as new deals with content providers were agreed.
This has led to a number of companies upping the price of their respective live TV streaming services over the last year and typically by around the $5 mark – as Hulu has announced today.
Hulu’s live TV option still remains competitive at the higher price and in spite of becoming slightly more expensive than some of the others as Hulu's option has the unique benefit of coming bundled with access to the standard Hulu on-demand plan – the one that’s now seen its price drop to $5.99.
For some current Hulu on-demand customers, this price drop will not be that interesting as the company has been toying with this price point for some time.
During the closing stages of 2018 Hulu was offering new customers the option to sign up at the $5.99 marker and have that price locked in for one year. The promotion did come to an end within the last few weeks with the price returning back to the $7.99 marker. Although it seems clear now that was only a temporary return as $5.99 will be the new norm going forward.