Hulu has officially announced an ad-free version of its video streaming service, though the offering's $11.99 per month price tag makes it notably costlier than similar services from Netflix and Amazon.
Available immediately, the new service tier joins Hulu's existing $7.99 per month option that features ads. A free version of Hulu is also available, though it lacks the majority of content found on the service and typically limits users to only the most recent episodes of shows available to watch for free. Current subscribers can transition to the new plan immediately if they pay the additional $4 per month.
Hulu's new premium option may have a difficult time winning over consumers, however, as Netflix's streaming service costs $8.99 per month for new users. Similarly, Amazon's streaming service, Instant Video, costs $99 per year – equal to $8.25 per month – as part of the company's Prime subscription, which also includes offline viewing as well as discounts and free shipping from the company's online store.
The new service tier follows news that Netflix will cease its content-licensing agreement with Epix after September. Since that announcement, Hulu and Epix have entered a similar licensing deal that will bring movies from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount – the studios that make up the Epix as part of a joint partnership – to the streaming service. Other notable content found on Hulu includes the television shows "Fargo" and "Hannibal," which are exclusively available on the service.
Hulu will also exclusively serve as home to new AMC original series, including "Fear the Walking Dead," as part of a recently announced licensing deal. Other streaming services, such as Netflix, will retain rights to existing shows and their new seasons, such as "The Walking Dead."
While the new tier brings Hulu closer to Netflix in terms of service capabilities, the company's user base of roughly 9 million subscribers still lags far behind Netflix's 65 million members.