Hulu Eyes Ad-Free Play: Report

Hulu is considering an advertising-free version of the multiscreen OTT service that would sell for $12 to $14 per month, and create an option that would put it in even closer competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, The Wall Street Journal  reported.

Hulu declined to comment on the report, but the paper said the project is called “NOAH” (for “No Ads Hulu), and would present a new option for an existing subscription/hybrid service that sells for $7.99 per month. The ad-free option, which would address at least one objection some would-be subscribers have with Hulu, could debut this fall, the WSJ reported while also pointing out that programmers are increasingly wary about the impact subscription-based OTT services are having on the TV ecosystem.

But if Hulu decided to move forward that option would enter view as Hulu continues to expand its distribution options, as well.  Hulu, which is now offering  Showtime’s new standalone service in a bundle, has distribution deals in place with several MVPDs and ISPs, including AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications and WideOpenWest (WOW!).

Hulu, which recently added Pluto TV as a content distribution partner and has been beefing up its own content mix, has nearly 9 million subscribers. Netflix ended the second quarter with 42.51 million paid U.S. subs, and 66.61 million worldwide.Hulu is co-owned by NBCUniversal, Walt Disney Co., and 21st Century Fox.