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Why Hulu (No Ads) Subscribers Still See Ads

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Hulu (No Ads) subscribers might still see ads for a number of reasons, including excluded content and episodes and movies provided by third-party services. This is something to be aware of before signing up to Hulu as, although the majority of content is provided ad-free, there are still times when those paying for the ‘no ads’ experience won’t be able to escape the commercials.

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Hulu offers different plan options. At the most fundamental level there’s the ad-supported and ad-free plans. Those subscribing to basic Hulu pay $5.99 per month for the ‘with ads’ version while those wanting a commercial-free experience pay $11.99 per month. Providing both options allows Hulu to offer consumers a plan that best suits their individual needs and budgets.

Besides basic Hulu, there’s also the Hulu plus Live TV service. This differs from the standard version of Hulu through the addition of access to live TV channels. The standard Hulu Live TV plan costs $64.99 per month, but subscribers can also pay $70.99 per month for the Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV plan. Whether subscribing to basic Hulu or the live TV package without ads, subscribers might still be shown commercials.

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Hulu ads shown during excluded content

One of the most basic reasons why Hulu subscribers will see ads when paying for an ad-free plan is excluded content. Essentially, not all show episodes and movies are delivered ad-free. While the majority will be, there are some that Hulu simply cannot offer without ads. This is almost always the result of streaming rights.

Although Hulu does not have the streaming rights to serve these videos without ads, the service does look to ensure it is a limited ad experience for No Ads customers. For example, a short ad break might be shown before and after a show episode, but not during.

Furthermore, the list of shows and movies that fall under the excluded content will vary over time.

Hulu ads shown during on demand content

Generally speaking, the on demand catalog should not include any ads for those subscribing to the basic Hulu No Ads plan. The exception being any videos that fall under the ‘excluded content’ rule. However, subscribers to Live TV with No Ads might find they are encountering ads during some on demand content.

This is simply the result of the live TV subscription in general. Hulu’s ‘No Ads’ feature only applies to content that’s available through the basic Hulu catalog. However, with the live TV subscription, subscribers gain access to additional content, including live TV.

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There is no option to disable the ads with live TV as they are shown in real time. Likewise, the on demand section of the app and website will also include additional show episodes and movies that are only available to live TV subscribers. Similar to the live TV content, these on demand titles are served by the various third-party network providers.

As this additional content is provided by third-parties, Hulu doesn’t have any control over the ad experience. Therefore, there is no way for the service to remove or limit the ads. This is not to say that all network partner content will include ads, but if a video does, it will be the decision of the third-party network provider and not Hulu.

Other reasons for Hulu ads

Excluded content, videos provided by network providers, and shows and movies broadcast via live TV, are going to be the main reasons why Hulu (No Ads) subscribers encounter commercials. However, there may be additional reasons why ads are occasionally shown. One of them is premium networks. Similar to the network partner content, if a subscriber adds a premium network to their package, they may encounter ads during shows.

Most premium networks won’t include typical ad-breaks, but they might show promotional ads for some of the shows and movies they currently have available on their channel. Alternatively, promotional adverts for any of their other services or products.

Then there’s cloud DVR. Hulu provides live TV subscribers with the option to record content to their DVR for viewing at a later time. Similar to watching live, DVR recordings include everything that happens while the show episode or movie is broadcast, including ads. Due to this, ads are likely to be visible when playing back the recording. However, No Ads subscribers do have the option of fast-forwarding through these ads, so while they are shown, they can also be skipped.

Why Hulu No Ads shows ads summary

Overall, Hulu’s No Ads upgrade can be applied to either a basic Hulu or Hulu Live TV subscription. Either way, the upgrade only applies to content that’s available through the basic Hulu catalog. Any show episodes or movies that are available outside of the Hulu catalog might include ad breaks. This can include content available through network partners, premium networks, live TV, and on demand.

With live TV and on demand network content, Hulu has no control over the ad experience, and therefore cannot remove the commercials in the same way. This is also true for recordings made through the cloud DVR feature. Although, No Ads subscribers are able to skip through the ads.

On top of all of this, there are some shows that will be unavailable to watch ad-free through Hulu, simply due to streaming rights.

Read more: How Many Hulu Devices at the Same Time?

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

23 replies on “Why Hulu (No Ads) Subscribers Still See Ads”

too many ads constantly on hulu (no ads) plus live, what alternatives are there as this is getting ridiculous with the ads! Easily every 10 minutes or less.

I started paying more for No Ads TV and watching ads every 10 minutes to. This is during an HGTV show. Should this be happening?

They are the absolute worst. Even the original content is full of ads. Why would I pay for this when I can dvr and ff on cable, and enjoy ad free viewing on Netflix, Appletv, Amazon prime?!

Completely a waste of money to pay for the “no adds” in Hulu. $12 a month to constantly watch adds every 10 minutes or less. The add on should be adds every 10 minutes instead of 9.

Ad-Free Hulu is the worst case of false advertising I have ever come across. Ads in every single show or movie I watched. Canceled that BS, back to the Bay!

Ad free hulu is a complete waste of money. Hulu does not even know what content is ad free or they would post it,

Hulu ad free is a waste. I use to be able to watch shows like The First 48 (not on my live tv) with no commercials. Now there is always commercials. What the cr*p am I actually paying the extra for???

I’m cutting Hulu after Handmaids is over. Regardless of their excuses, ads are super annoying and contrary to the package I thought I was subscribing to. Done with Hulu.

Ads are really a pain – I paid for ad-free subscription and not getting it. Finishing up Handmaid’s Tale and its lights out for Hulu

Recent cord cutters here. We bought the whole thing. Hulu (no ads) + live tv + disney+, espn+, dvr. $78.99/mo. First night I set a movie and two sports shows to record. Sports shows did, and the movie didn’t record. Both sports shows stalled (got stuck) on playback within the first 10sec. Bottomline: Couldn’t watch recorded shows. 100% fail. Chatted with Hulu support. They said they were aware of the problem and had NO IDEA when it’d be fixed. Their recommendation was to reboot my Fire TV device. Yay! Nice!

No Ads? How about they call it NOT No Ads? Second night… Watched episodes of our choice of A&E’s “The First 48.” This means it was “streaming from a library” not Live TV. The opening of the show had a 0:30 ad. At 10min, there was a 2:30 ad. At 17min, a 2:30 ad. At 24min, a 2:30 ad. We watched a 42min show and had to agonize thru 16min of ads. In other words, 38% of our time was spent as UNWILLING PARTICIPANTS (PRISONERS) OF ADS WHEN WE PURCHASED A PLAN CALLED “(NO ADS)”! We cut the cord from Xfinity, where the same “library” gave ads, but we could fast forward thru them. This ABSOLUTELY sux! Xfinity is WAY over priced, and the major reason we switched was the overprice. But, their DVR never failed once, and we could pause live TV (to not watch ads, but wait and ff), and we could breeze thru ads on library content. Hate to say, but now I’d gladly pay more to get a similar experience.

This article is bogus. First of all the no ads is $70.99 a month, I would gladly pay $11.99. Second programs that din’t have ads a few weeks ago now have ads, almost corresponding with the recent price increase. I filed a complaint with the BBB. I had Sling but HULU had more content, maybe I should switch back.

That’s exactly what happened to me I’ve had Hulu for a long time a wasn’t getting ads. Now all of a sudden last week started getting ads on everything. And the worst part about it is, even when you record it the fast forward function is blocked so you literally have to sit through all the commercials even tho you’re paying for an AD-Free experience. I like Hulu, but this is bad business as of late and it’s disappointing for them to be so deceptive to the people that are paying their bills

What a bunch of BS. When I first started paying for Hulu six months ago, Stargate SG one was commercial free… Now, all the sudden it is excluded content??? Now I have crap commercials every 15 minutes and Hulu seems to think there’s a reason I should continue paying? They should probably rethink that…

Hulu, quit posting BS and bogus excuses for destroying your content in the name of profit… Please.

Virtually everything on Hulu has constant ads even when paying for no ad. It’s way more than any other streaming service. I can’t find where they acknowledge which channels supposedly don’t. Bravo, HGTV, History, Food Network,on and all, constant ads. I watched Dark Phoenix, 10 5-min ads. It was unwatchable. It should legally be considered fraud on a grand national level.

Not only am I getting ads every 10 minutes but now they are “interactive” ads. We are being forced to actively engage with what we shouldn’t be seeing in the first place. They are totally confusing and not at all straight forward so you can sit through the fastest option hit the wrong button and then have to sit through the 3 minute commercial break. This may possibly be the biggest slap in the face in the worst case of false advertising in streaming service history.

My daughter and I have been binge watching mtvs The Challenge past seasons. I’ve found that 75% of the episodes are add free….but when I occasionally get an episode that starts showing 2-3 min ads every 5 min I turn off the app, shutdown my iPad or tv, n turn the device back on. 95% of the time that’ll solve the ad issue. But not always.
BOTTOM LINE…WHY SHLD I B SEEING ADS AT ALL IF ALL I HAVE TO DO IS SHUTDOWN THE APP TO STOP SEEING THEM…..DURING THE SAME EPISODE!!!!
This is beyond annoying! Spending $140 a month for a service that shld b ad free..most the time…n it’s never consistent!
I understand ad free isn’t a thing for live tv or live recorded tv..DUH! (Anyone that doesn’t understand that jus needs to reread the terms and/or b reasonably aware..seriously)
But when watching the same season of anything, on demand, n most episodes r commercial free then suddenly an episode isn’t…THAT is what I don’t understand n wld love an answer to.

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