Staci D. Kramer at mocoNews tested Hulu Plus, the forthcoming “pay us $10 a month to watch commercials” subscription offering from Hulu, and reports that it’s okay-to-disappointing depending on your needs: “Given that I’m a subscription addict, I was fairly sure I’d wind up keeping it after my free review month. One week in, not so much.”
Kramer says that there’s a ton of content available and the actual user experience was fine, for the most part. What’s problematic are the weird gaps in content, making it a less-than-comprehensive subscription service. Only the most recent seasons of Lost and 24 are available, for example, although you can watch every episode of Heroes (if your superpower is surviving crushing boredom). There’s no programming from CBS, HBO, or Showtime, and “none of the quirky USA shows.”
She notes that if you want movies, the $9/month Netflix subscription is probably a better choice.
Of course, the really offensive aspect of Hulu Plus for many–well, okay, for me at least–is the presence of ads. Kramer acknowledges that Hulu is following the cable model in this regard, but she writes that somehow it just feels wrong in this format, partly because of the difference in how we consume online streaming content:
When you are paying, the annoyance level goes up exponentially. I rarely watch movies on AMC because of the commercial interruptions and after one movie on Hulu, I’m close to the same policy. Some possibilities: offer an ad-free version for a few more bucks; include X number of ad-free hours a month; limit the extra ads when a user moves around in the show—it feels like a punishment sometimes; make the software sensitive enough enough to know when someone just saw an ad and is rebooting a show.
Her conclusion: $10 isn’t bad “if you get a few hours of entertainment” every month, especially when compared to something like iTunes TV and movie prices, but for now the content offerings are probably too paltry for some viewers.
In a follow-up post, she says Hulu’s CEO admits that an ad-free subscription service (at a higher price) is possible, but only “theoretical” at this point.