Hulu To Finally Let Non-Paying Mobile Users Watch Shows (And Ads, Of Course)

Mobile users will finally be able to watch free Hulu shows -- and all the glorious ads they can stomach -- on their phones and tablets.

Mobile users will finally be able to watch free Hulu shows — and all the glorious ads they can stomach — on their phones and tablets.

For years, consumers have been able to watch free TV content on Hulu on their computer screens, but if they wanted to check out most of this freely available content on their phones or tablets, they generally had to ante up for a paid Hulu Plus subscription. Today, in addition to some other new features for Hulu, the service announced it will begin making free content readily available to mobile users.

This is a big step forward for Hulu, which had previously limited non-paying mobile users to clips of shows rather than the library of free content that is available to desktop users.

Hulu is different from competitors like Netflix or Amazon Prime, in that almost all of its content — even much of what’s on Hulu Plus — is broken up by advertising breaks. This allows the company to make a number of shows available for streaming to anyone, but it also means Hulu was missing out on ad revenue from non-paying users who can’t access these shows on their mobile devices.

Android users will be the first to get access to free content when it rolls out this summer, followed by iOS users.

OTHER HULU ANNOUNCEMENTS:
The company said today that it will soon be offering advertisers what it calls an “In-Stream Purchase Unit,” that allows Hulu users to make purchases and place orders directly from within Hulu. The first partner to try this will be Pizza Hut, meaning users can order up a pie while catching up on Hannibal, without having to leave Hulu to do so.

Hulu is also continuing to talk to cable operators about getting the service integrated into set-top boxes. It’s already a fixture on most web-connected streaming devices like Roku, Chromecast and Amazon’s new Fire TV.

[via TheVerge]