If you are opting for the cheaper ad-supported version of Hulu, then you are not alone. Far from it, in fact, it seems you are part of the clear majority.
Hulu has not really been one to often delve too deep into its subscriber numbers but this week the company’s SVP and Head of Advertising Sales, Peter Naylor (via Variety) provided some insight into what sort of plan most Hulu consumers are currently signing up to.
The takeaway was roughly 70-percent of Hulu subscribers subscribe to the ad-supported plan.
Previously, Hulu had confirmed the service enjoys 28 million subscribers. With 2.9 viewers (on average) apparently attached to each account, Hulu counts 82 million viewers overall.
Of that number, around 58 million are now considered to be ad-supported viewers.
This just goes to show the continued importance of ads and even when the market is in the process of transitioning to a streaming market. For example, as companies move to a streaming way of life they are most often going down the subscription route where consumers pay a set amount each month for access to content, and in some cases ad-free access to that content.
However, striking the right balance between what consumers are willing to pay for a video service without ads is crucial, as companies like Hulu are highlighting that consumers are willing to endure ads if the price is right.
In Hulu’s case, specifically, it would seem that Hulu is happier to lower the cost further if it means more subscriber eyes end up on those ads. In a year when increasing the streaming service price has been commonplace, Hulu actually decreased the price of its ad-supported plan down from $7.99 per month to $5.99 per month.
What’s more, Hulu has been one of the few companies hard at work at evolving the ad system in general. This has come through in a number of new and novel ways of serving ads to viewers and seems to be the approach the streaming service is keen to continue with going forward.
This emphasis on finding new ways to deliver ads in a less obtrusive, but productive way only further adds to the narrative that Hulu views ads as a highly important part of its business model.
In other words, ads are not likely to be going anywhere on Hulu.
The real question is how many other companies will follow in the same footsteps. Companies like CBS All Access already offer the option of choosing between an ad-supported and an ad-free experience and it would seem this dual-pronged approach that lets the consumer decide the budget and experience works the best overall.
Then again, you have companies like Netflix and HBO who enjoy some of the largest single-service user bases and they have opted to offer a totally ad-free experience.
This does not necessarily mean they will in the future, but it remains to be seen after becoming established in the market as an ad-free option how well consumers will take to a sudden introduction of ads.
Unless, of course, those ads arrive with a steep reduction in the monthly cost, as well as the option to forgo the ad side of the experience altogether.