Hulu Drops Price To $5.99, But Only For New Users & Only For 12 Months

It’s no secret that Hulu, in spite of being owned by three major TV networks, decent original and exclusive content, and being available on just about any device out there, has never attained an audience the size of competitors like Netflix or Amazon Prime. Now, in an apparent effort to entice more subscribers, the streaming service has slashed its price, but only for new users.

This morning, Hulu quietly changed the starting rate for its ad-supported tier of service to $5.99/month (down from $7.99/month). The deal only applies to new subscribers, and increases to $7.99/month after 12 months.

No word yet on exactly what constitutes a new user; presumably you won’t just be able to cancel after 11 months, re-register using the same email/credit card and get the lower rate for another year.

Interestingly, Hulu — which is jointly owned by Comcast, Disney, and Fox — is not currently offering any similar rate reduction for the ad-free tier. That remains at $11.99/month. The company is likely hoping that the revenue lost by the discounted rate will be offset by increased ad revenue from more people watching streams on the service, with the long-term goal of converting these people into subscribers paying the full rate or anteing up for the more expensive ad-free tier.

Hulu critics have often asked why the service charged similar monthly rates to Netflix or Amazon but continued to interrupt most of their content (movies from the Criterion collection have been a noteworthy exception) with commercials. It wasn’t only a question of value — many cord-cutters were attracted to Netflix and others specifically because they had no commercials.

With the reduced intro rate, Hulu costs notably less (for the first year at least) less than either of its more successful competitors. The Standard tier on Netflix goes for $9.99/month. There is a Basic Netflix offering for $7.99/month, but that does not include HD content or the ability to stream to more than one device at a time.

Amazon Prime goes for $99/month (equal to $8.25/month), but also includes access to perks like free, expedited shipping and a Prime music library. Prime is also available in two monthly options: $10.99/month for the full benefits of the program; or $8.99/month for just Prime Video.

[via TV Predictions]

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