If you’re using Hulu and seeing adverts, even though you’re on a “no ads” Hulu plan, you’re probably wondering what is going on? Here’s why you cannot escape Hulu Ads – even on “no ad” plans
Hulu does quite a lot of things right. As a streaming platform, it has many, many strengths – even when compared to platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
But there is one aspect of HULU that has irked many a user, and as always it relates to adverts – specifically, adverts showing on HULU’s “no ads” plans.
So what gives? Why are you seeing adverts on HULU’s no adverts plan?
As it turns out, HULU isn’t doing this just to annoy you – or make some quick bucks. As usual, it relates to archaic streaming rights.
Why Am I Seeing Adverts On My HULU “No Ads” Plans?
The vast majority of content on HULU inside its “no ads” plan, as the name suggests, is completely devoid of adverts. If you’re watching content that HULU, or its parent company, Disney, owns you will not see adverts.
If you’re watching content that isn’t owned or licensed by HULU, this is when things change. This is when you’ll see adverts. And the reason? Because HULU doesn’t own the content, it has to run ads against it in order to pay the fee for showing it to its subscribers.
Here’s the official line via HULU:
“By including a modest ad load in our streaming library, Hulu is able to offer a wide variety of current season TV, exclusive shows and movies, award-winning Hulu originals, and more — all at a valuable and competitive price” – HULU
Similarly, HULU then goes on to explain that it is “streaming rights” that force it to show adverts against certain shows and movies on its “ad free” plan.
Hey, HULU! Maybe Don’t Call It A “No Ads” Plan…
But the issue most people seem to have with HULU’s “no ad” plan isn’t necessarily related to adverts per se. It is because HULU specifically markets this plan as NO ADS but there are adverts. And this is a mistake.
Had HULU called it something like HULU Ultra, or something similar, it probably wouldn’t have run into as many problems. It’d be like Coke calling one of its drinks 100% sugar-free and then adding in 5 grams of sugar per can.
A platform either has adverts or it doesn’t – there’s no middle ground. If an advert shows, even if it is only one three shows out of 3000, the service is NOT ad-free.
YouTube Premium does not have ads. Ever. This is how an ad-free platform should work.
HULU does not seem to understand this, however, and instead seems intent on keeping its “no ads” branding for its service which includes adverts on certain shows and movies.
It Gets Worse/More Confusing Though…
HULU also does a LIVE TV service and it also has the ability to record stuff with its Cloud DVR feature. However, with the Cloud DVR feature, you ONLY fast-forward through ads on shows and movies you have recorded if you upgrade your plan to Enhanced Cloud DVR.
Similarly, HULU has inked deals with HBO, SHOWTIME, Cinemax, and STARZ. But the deal isn’t enough to ensure shows by these content producers run ad-free, so if you watch anything from HBO, SHOWTIME, Cinemax, and STARZ you will likely see promotion content too.
What Does This All Mean?
You cannot escape adverts on HULU, even on the “no ads” plan. The vast majority of HULU content runs ad-free. And I do mean the vast majority. But any content that HULU doesn’t directly own and/or control will have adverts associated with it.
And the reason for this is licensing rights; HULU has to pay for the shows and TV shows it doesn’t own/control, and it recoups these costs with ads and promotional materials that are played alongside the content.
The entire thing is confusing as hell and, in my opinion, could have been avoided with a simple change of how the plan is branded.
You cannot call something “no ads” if there are ads, just as you cannot call something “free” if it costs money.
Even if something costs 1 cent, it ain’t free. And even if there is only one advert per 2000 shows, the service isn’t “ad-free”.
Time for a rebrand, maybe, HULU?
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.