Hulu is a streaming platform that specializes in the same-day or next-day airing of popular TV shows as well as producing original content.
To get access to Hulu, you have to subscribe and pay a monthly fee.
After putting on a show, you’ll quickly discover that Hulu does not come ad-free.
Considering that Hulu is a subscription service, you may wonder why the platform also includes so many ads.
Whether it’s funding original shows, the specific Hulu plan you have, or outside partnerships, here are a few reasons Hulu has so many ads.
Why Does Hulu Have So Many Ads? (8 Reasons)
1. Different Subscription Plans
When you first subscribe to Hulu, you’ll notice that there are different tiers.
The basic Hulu plan is the cheapest.
It also comes with ads.
If you choose this plan, then you’re basically agreeing to pay a cheaper price at the expense of watching more ads.
Since Hulu needs to earn a certain amount of money from each viewer, it’s able to offer lower prices by supplementing it with money earned by showing ads.
Another subscription plan is the Hulu (No Ads) plan.
With this particular plan, you pay a bit more and have fewer shows with ads.
That said, there are a few shows that come with ads.
Hulu lists several reasons those who subscribe to Hulu (No Ads) still see ads.
We’ll get into those later.
Essentially, Hulu has a lot of ads on its most basic subscription plan to ensure it still makes a profit even though it offers a lower price on the plan.
If you want to get rid of those ads, then you can always subscribe to the more expensive plan called Hulu (No Ads).
2. Excluded Shows From No-Ads Plan
If you are part of the Hulu (No Ads) plan and still seeing ads, then you may wonder why.
After all, you’re specifically paying more to avoid ads.
The reason you’re seeing ads is that some shows are excluded from the No-Ads plan.
This means that certain shows will display ads regardless of whether you have the No-Ads plan or not.
The reason behind the exclusion comes from streaming rights.
Essentially, Hulu makes a plan with the show.
The producers might require the service to display ads on their specific show as a condition of allowing Hulu to stream it.
The show might want to display ads during their specific show because it means they’ll be able to make more money from doing business with Hulu.
The number of excluded shows is always changing.
Contracts change, so a show that might have displayed ads at one point might end up removing those ads later.
The same goes for shows that didn’t display ads initially.
They might end up becoming excluded.
It all comes down to streaming rights negotiations.
You can see what shows have an exclusion on them on Hulu’s website.
If you pay for Hulu (No Ads) and you’re still getting a lot of ads, then you might be watching a show that’s excluded from the No-Ad plan.
3. You Subscribe To Live TV
Another reason you’ll see a lot of ads on Hulu is that you subscribe to Live TV.
Live TV is Hulu’s live streaming service.
There are a select number of shows that you can watch live as they air.
Whether you have the basic Hulu plan or the Hulu (No Ads) plan, you can expect to see ads when you watch something with its Live TV service.
That’s because live programs usually have commercials.
Unless you’re watching a program that doesn’t contain ads, you’re likely going to be watching ads.
Most live TV shows have traditional commercials throughout the program.
They tend to occur somewhere around the 15-minute mark, the 30-minute mark, the 45-minute mark, and just before the show finishes.
Shorter shows will have a more condensed format.
Hulu has to show ads during that time, too.
It can’t skip ahead because it’s live TV.
The platform is showing you what’s happening on the show at the same time that everyone off of Hulu is watching it.
As an example, if you’re watching a live show on ABC through Hulu, then you can expect ads.
That’s because the show on ABC is going to have ads.
On Hulu, you’re not going to skip through the parts when the ads are showing, because you’re actually watching the show live on ABC.
If Hulu didn’t show ads, then you’d just be watching a black screen until the show returned from its commercial break.
In this case, it doesn’t matter whether you’re part of the basic Hulu plan or the Hulu (No Ads) plan.
If you’re watching Live TV on Hulu, then you can expect a lot of ads.
4. Cloud DVR Recordings
One of the unique features that Hulu offers to its subscribers is the ability to record live shows.
It does so with its Cloud DVR add-on.
With the Cloud DVR program, you’re able to record live TV shows that you might miss otherwise.
You can then return to Hulu and watch the recorded show later.
However, because you recorded a live show, you can expect ads.
That’s because you’re still watching a show that aired live.
You may not be actually watching it live, but the recording occurred while the show was live.
This means that the recording also captured all the ads.
If you have just the basic Cloud DVR add-on, then you can’t skip through the ads.
Hulu requires you to have the Enhanced Cloud DVR add-on to skip through the ads.
Essentially, you’ll need to pay more if you want to be able to skip through those ads.
Since Cloud DVR records live television, it doesn’t matter if you have the basic Hulu plan or the Hulu (No Ads) plan.
Because you’re recording live television, it’s going to come with ads.
Hulu has a lot of ads when you only subscribe to the basic Cloud DVR plan.
5. Premium Add-Ons
Hulu doesn’t just have content from a lot of network shows.
They also partner with premium channels like Starz, HBO, and Showtime.
If you’re familiar with those premium channels, you know that they don’t run ads during their shows.
However, they do run promotions either at the beginning or end of each show.
These promos give their viewers the chance to learn about upcoming releases.
For example, it may show the trailer of the next big show that the premium channel is trying to hype or promote.
It may show several condensed trailers to encourage you to make the switch from Hulu to its own streaming platform.
Hulu may or may not show those promos.
It might choose to run an ad during that part instead.
The reason it has to put an ad either at the beginning or end of the episode is that the premium channel does.
If Hulu didn’t show the promo, you’d just be watching a black screen for a few minutes before the show begins.
Hulu can earn a bit of money and fill that space by presenting an ad instead.
Since the promo is something that the premium channels build into their episodes, it doesn’t matter if you have the Hulu basic plan or the Hulu (No Ads) plan.
Because it’s built into the premium channels, you’re going to get an ad or two either at the beginning or end of your episodes.
Hulu has a lot of ads because of the promos that premium channels run.
6. Keeps Subscription Plans Low
One of the perks of using Hulu is that its prices are relatively low compared to other streaming platforms.
While you can certainly make it more expensive, its basic package is quite affordable.
With that basic package, you’re able to access tons of content.
That includes both network shows and original content from Hulu.
If you subscribe to Hulu through its partnership with Disney+, then you get an even cheaper deal.
Hulu can offer an inexpensive experience exactly because it runs so many ads during its shows.
Hulu uses two methods to earn revenue.
The first is funds through subscription plans.
While Hulu used to be free, it’s changed.
Now, it offers a basic subscription plan with ads and a more expensive subscription plan without ads.
By receiving funds through subscriptions, Hulu can keep the number of ads it needs to display low.
The other way it earns money is with ads.
By paying a cheaper subscription price, you’re basically saying that you’re willing to watch ads to cover the rest of the price of the subscription.
Those who pay for the No-Ads plan pay the full price of subscribing to Hulu.
They’re essentially paying for some of the profit that the ads give to Hulu instead.
As such, you get a lot of ads on Hulu when you’re part of the basic plan because it’s how Hulu keeps its basic plan cheap.
7. Partnerships With Disney And Other Networks
Hulu has several partnerships.
One of its most important is Disney.
Disney essentially owns Hulu.
This means that Hulu shares some of its profits with Disney.
In return, Disney invests in Hulu.
Because Hulu has to give away some of its funds, it needs to earn a certain amount of revenue to remain profitable.
Disney isn’t the only company that partners with Hulu.
Almost every network you see on Hulu likely has a contract with the platform.
That contract likely includes the percentage of money that they receive from Hulu.
Hulu gets to stream their shows, but the owners of the shows get some cut of the money.
Because Hulu has so many partners, it’s not always getting all the revenue just for itself.
It has to share that revenue with others.
To stay profitable, it must earn a good amount of revenue to satisfy its partners and remain operational.
While subscription payments can help with that, the best way that Hulu can keep its profits up is by showing ads.
The more ads that it shows, the more money it’s making.
Hulu shows a lot of ads because it has a lot of partners looking for their slice of the pie.
8. Funds Original Content
Hulu doesn’t just stream other shows.
It also produces its own original content.
Some of their most famous shows include:
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Only Murders in the Building
- The Great
- Nine Perfect Strangers
A lot of these shows include star-studded casts that come with expensive budgets.
To fund those shows and keep producing high-quality content, Hulu needs financial resources.
While subscription plans can certainly help create a pool, having a large number of ads also makes that pool larger.
Hulu uses the funds from showing ads to produce more original content.
Hulu shows ads to be able to make more Hulu Originals.NEXT: Why Is Physics So Boring? (10 Reasons)