Tag Archives: Hulu

Hulu On Disney+ Launches Today In The U.S. For Disney Bundle Subscribers

The Walt Disney Company announced today the official launch of Hulu on Disney+ in the U.S. for Disney Bundle subscribers, bringing together the extensive Disney+ and Hulu libraries — including beloved characters, award-winning films and series, and 100 years’ worth of inspiring stories — all in one place.

The new experience is a seamless showcase of the value the Disney Bundle that allows Bundle subscribers (or those who hold subscriptions to both standalone apps) to stream extensive Hulu content, including the critically acclaimed fan favorites like Grey’s Anatomy, Only Murders in the Building, Poor Things, and The Bear, directly in the Disney+ Bundle app. Bundle plans are available at $9.99/month, while Disney + and Hulu remain available as standalone offerings.

Starting today, subscribers will see the full Hulu on Disney+ experience which includes Hulu titles integrated in recommendations, sets, and collections on Disney+, making it easier to discover thousands of general entertainment titles and explore the impressive breadth and depth of Hulu and Disney+ content via a more personalized experience — without having to move between apps. For standalone Disney+ subscribers, Hulu content merchandised across Disney+ will now come with expanded upsell options across additional devices, making it more convenient to upgrade their subscription to the Bundle starting at only $2/month more.

Hulu is officially on Disney+, Hollywood Reporter wrote. Disney says that Hulu on Disney+ is now live and out of beta, giving subscribers to both services (or to the Disney bundle) access to content in one place.

“It’s whole goal is to make happier subscribers and healthier subscribers, provide them with convenience, deeper engagement, better retention and increase the value of the Disney bundle for our subscribers,” says Joe Earley, president of direct-to-consumer for Disney Entertainment.

Hulu content first became available on Disney+ in beta form late last year, but now the service is fully integrated, with executives touting a slew of technical moves needed to enable to move.

“This launch really represents the most extensive technical advancement to Disney+ and our entire streaming platform since we launched Disney+ over four years ago,” adds Aaron LaBerge, president & CTO for Disney Entertainment & ESPN, noting that the tech will also be used to help launch ESPN’s flagship streaming product once it is ready for market.

“Our teams have had to reimagine and redesign many core aspects of our platform. We completely redefined the way that we manage video assets, integrating our libraries and improving quality. We shipped an entirely new content management system that delivers capabilities for editorial and programming teams to merchandise and promote our content with much more flexibility.”

Engadget reported Disney didn’t waste much absorbing Hulu into its multimedia maw. After taking full ownership of Hulu last November, the company started beta testing integration with Disney+ a month later. Today, Hulu on Disney+ is officially coming out of beta, making it easier for subscribers to access both services.

In my opinion, it seems like a really good idea for Disney and Hulu to be accessible within the same streaming service. Getting both for one subscription seems useful.

Hulu Introduces Profiles

Hulu has announced that they are beginning to roll out profiles to their more than 12 million subscribers. They have started rolling profiles out to a small subset of their viewers and will continue to roll out the feature to more viewers across more devices.

After the new profiles feature is rolled out to your Hulu account, you can add up to six specific profiles. I did not realize, until I read Hulu’s announcement, that Hulu lacked profiles. Netflix has had a similar feature for a long time. Hulu explains the reasoning behind profiles this way:

…TV is very personal and we know people share their Hulu with spouses, kids and family members. Inevitably, you may not be as enthusiastic about Sci-Fi as your spouse. And it is likely that new episodes of Doc McStuffins are not quite as exciting for you as they are for your children. The next step in creating the most personal TV experience is introducing profiles.

Hulu users will start by creating a profile. That user will then be taken through a “taste picking experience” where they will tell Hulu what types of shows and movies they like and what types of shows and movies they don’t like. This helps Hulu to know what shows to recommend to you.

Each individual profile can do a “taste picking experience”. Each profile will have its own name, personal info, viewing history, recommendations, and Watchlist. There will also be a new Kids profile type. It will allow young viewers to browse content in the Kids Hub freely, without having to worry about running into mature content.

Hulu Offers Commercial-Free Viewing

Hulu LogoHulu has announced that they are now offering a commercial-free option to their subscribers. This is in addition to their subscription option that show a limited amount of ads. For a few dollars more, those ads can disappear (in most cases).

Many people feel that if they are paying a subscription fee to a TV streaming service that the shows should not have ads in them. In general, the idea is that you can either watch things for free – with ads included – or pay to avoid the commercials. Hulu’s “Limited Commercials” plan didn’t quite make sense because it was billing people $7.99 a month for a subscription while continuing to stick commercials into the content they chose to watch.

Hulu now offers a “No-Commercials” plan. It costs $11.99 a month, and will allow you to watch TV shows on Hulu without having to see any commercials. The FAQ notes that if you sign up with an iOS device and pay for your Hulu “No Commercials” subscription with your iTunes account, the cost is $13.99 per month.

To get people interested in this new plan, Hulu is offering a 1 week free trial. If the only thing holding you back from getting a Hulu account was the ads, it might be worth it to check out the free trial of the “No-Commercials” plan.

The FAQs point out that not all of the shows and movies on the “No Commercials” plan will be commercial-free. Most of them will, however. There are some shows that Hulu has not obtained the rights to stream commercial free. Those shows will have a short commercial before and after each episode. In other words, the shows won’t have commercial interruptions. Currently, that list of shows includes: Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, Grimm, New Girl, and How to Get Away With Murder.

Long Term Hulu Plus Thoughts

hulu_plusI have been using Hulu Plus for several months, and I have a few additional comments about the service.

I tend to watch lots of science documentaries. Over time, I’ve seemed to nearly exhaust the documentaries available on Netflix and Amazon videos. One of the things I really like about the Hulu Plus is that it includes shows from the BBC, Canada and Australia. This opens up a new world of high quality documentary material that isn’t available to me otherwise.

From a technical streaming point of view, the service always seems to stream well. I have encountered no server issues streaming either via DSL or mobile data connections.

The various Hulu Plus apps themselves do have a few issues. I regularly use the iOS, Android and Roku versions of the Hulu Plus apps. The interfaces seem mostly straightforward, though there are a few quirks and differences from one app to the next.

The biggest problem I’ve encountered is the service being able to remember where I’m stopped at in an individual video as well as a series of videos. For example, let’s say I’m in the 5th episode of a season. The service may or may not remember that I’ve already watched the previous 4 episodes.

Additionally, if I pause in the middle of a video, there’s at least a 50% chance that if I come back to the series later, instead of starting me out exactly where I was in the paused video, the service will kick me to the next episode even though I haven’t finished watching the prior episode.

These synching problems seem to be consistent across all of Hulu Plus’ apps. I can use only one app, say on my iPad Air, and will likely encounter the synching issue the next time I open the app to try to get back to where I left off. Moving to a different device entirely I will still encounter the same synching problem.

These synching issues are areas where Netflix and Amazon really seem to have this nailed down and leave Hulu Plus lagging behind.

Even with the synching issues, I really like Hulu Plus and make extensive use of it. In my view it is well worth the $8 monthly charge.

Hulu Flip-Flopped. Video Service No Longer for Sale Again.

Hulu LogoI am starting to wonder if I should even read stories of Hulu being for sale…

The conglomeration of owners that is known as Hulu has once again backed out of the for sale market. The group – consisting of 21st-Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Walt Disney Company – have confirmed via press release they will once again take the streaming content service back off the market and re-invest to bring more customers.

This is not the first time Hulu has done this. Back in 2011, Hulu had a potential suitor where the deal was called off because the group wanted to re-invest.

“We believe the best path forward for Hulu is a meaningful recapitalization that will further accelerate its growth under the current ownership structure,” said Chase Carey, President and Chief Operating Officer of 21st Century Fox. “We had meaningful conversations with a number of potential partners and buyers, each with impressive plans and offers to match, but with 21st Century Fox and Disney fully aligned in our collective vision and goals for the business, we decided to continue to empower the Hulu team, in this fashion, to continue the incredible momentum they’ve built over the last few years.”

The co-owners of Hulu continued by saying they will be adding another $750 million into the service. This will go toward building a larger subscriber base.

Hulu started in 2008. They currently have content from over 400 partners, 4 million subscribers and 30 million monthly views.

Hulu Plus doubles subscriptions

Hulu continues to surprise me — the service never seems quite mainstream, but continues to thrive. This time the TV service is announcing record gains in subscriptions to its Plus service, the paid subscription plan that it introduced back in 2010.

“Overall, Hulu continues to grow very quickly. In Q1 of this year, we set new records for revenue, and for the first time ever, Hulu viewers streamed more than 1 billion content videos in a single quarter” states Hulu’s acting CEO Andy Forssell. In fact, the company has seen continued growth every year that it has existed — in Q1 2013, Hulu Plus surpassed 4 million subscribers—setting new records for subscriber additions.

hulu usage graph

Mobile viewing is also growing, now accounting for 15 percent of Hulu’s consumed videos in 2013-2014. Living room viewing now makes up 29 percent of the viewing audience.

Forssell also points out advertising revenue — “Hulu is also #1 in market share of all premium online video providers, delivering 1 in 3 of all premium video ads in the U.S. Our reasonable ad load drives the highest recall and awareness for brands, which results in higher effectiveness for the video ads”.

Hulu has recently jumped in the game of original content with Quick Draw and East Los High. This brings the service into direct competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Watch Star Trek on Hulu for Free!

Hulu LogoHulu is celebrating William Shatner’s birthday by offering viewers free access to five Star Trek television series from now through March 31, 2013. This includes every episode of “Star Trek” the original series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Deep Space 9”, “Voyager”, and “Enterprise”.

The LA Times points out that when you add it up, it comes to 693 episodes. You’ve got just nine days to do it in. Make some popcorn and have a Star Trek marathon this weekend! The NextWeb has calculated that you would have to watch 69 episodes a day, every day, between now and the end of the month if you wanted to watch them all for free through Hulu.

An easy way to find everything is to visit the page that Hulu put together about it. Click the image of the series you want to watch and you should be good to go. You do not have to be a Hulu subscriber in order to access free Star Trek right now. Apparently, Hulu periodically unlocks some of its content for free (which I was unaware of).