November 29, 2019 7:23 pm

Hulu Basic should be free rather than on sale

hulu-basic-should-be-free-rather-than-on-sale-for-1-99
Credit: Hulu Wikimedia Commons

Hulu is hitting us with an offer that appears irresistible. The price point of $1.99 per month for 12 months is attractive, but it’s still too much for an ad-supported service. You’ve got until Cyber Monday to decide, but this streamer has already made up its mind.

For me, cutting the cord was as much about escaping the cable TV monopoly as it was about getting away from ad breaks. The thought of paying for a streaming service and still having to sit through ads is hideous. Hulu Basic should be free — like Tubi.

A free-to-play future

One look at the free-to-play app market gives great insight into where streaming is headed. The idea of an app with ads charging a subscription isn’t the accepted common practice. The consumer expectation is that a free-to-play app sells premium content and pushes ads, whereas a subscription service is ad-free.


This means Hulu Basic is triple-dipping with ads, premium offers, and a subscription. There’s no reaction, because cable has taught us to get robbed blind when it comes to big-screen entertainment. So, as companies like Tubi step up their game with better content and accessibility, Hulu Basic’s survival is reliant on it going free-to-stream.

The best evidence for Hulu Basic going this route is in 2020, NBC’s Peacock service is launching. According to reports, the service will offer a free ad-supported version and a premium ad-free option.

Go premium or go home

This Hulu Basic deal feels like one last hurrah before the service becomes free as a means to push Disney’s premium products. The app already has the functionality, and a free Hulu Basic could get in front of those who haven’t subscribed to any Disney service already.

Giving something for free is the cheaper option to keep people coming back. The other is for Disney to drop blockbusters monthly. That’s the reason Netflix is making big shows and movies at an extreme cost. It knows the market is changing, and the option is to go premium with new content monthly, or go free.


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