I started watching Hulu.com in the fall of 2007. Prior to finding Hulu.com, I had a Cable TV subscription, a DVR, and a bit of a love/hate relationship going with Netflix. A little less than three years have gone by and I still find myself still watching Hulu.com and Netflix, but have dropped the DVR and most of the Cable TV subscription package.
Over the course of this year I have read various reports about the Hulu paid-subscription service, now called Hulu Plus. Upon first hearing about Hulu Plus, my reaction was not a negative one. I have watched quite a few TV series on Hulu and have seen their service evolve over the last couple of years. I thought that a paid Hulu Plus subscription service could be good. The Hulu Plus service that I was hoping to find was one where I could pay Hulu.com a monthly subscription fee and in return the would remove the commercial breaks, provide access more content/episodes and have a shorter wait time for new episodes.
On June 29th, I saw that Hulu was taking requests for Hulu Plus Subscriptions and put my name in. About a month later, on July 31st, I received an email from Hulu which stated that my "Hulu Plus preview invite was ready". I happily clicked the link and found that Hulu Plus was looking for me to pony-up a $9.99 per month subscription fee with no trial period.
Like many other folks wandering around the web, I have signed up for a vast number of betas, trials, and previews over the last few years. I find that it is normally not a good sign when I receive an invite to something that is looking for an immediate commitment, along with a credit card number. As I had been looking forward to Hulu Plus, I chose to go against my own best judgement and sign up for the Hulu Plus service.
Upon logging into the Hulu Plus for the first time as a paid subscriber, I noticed that the single biggest change to the Hulu interface was that the logo in the upper-left corner now read "Hulu Plus" instead of just the regular "Hulu". I looked for was some type of Hulu Plus related navigation that would take me to my additional content, but found nothing. I reached for the "Plus" option in the navigation bar, but found that it just lead me to the same ad that I saw before I joined Hulu Plus. It had links to some additional "plus" content, but mostly it was episodes that I had already seen on Hulu over the course of the last season or two. After wandering about the site, I did find that there was some additional content but not nearly what I had expected.
The biggest disappointment of the Hulu Plus service came when I watched my first episode and found that there were still commercial breaks. In fact, I was still presented with five commercial breaks featuring a couple of ads at each break. It is simply amazing to me that someone at Hulu decided that I would be willing to both pay for the Internet Service (via cable modem) and the Hulu Plus subscription and then on top of that, I would be willing to sit through commercial breaks.
At this point, the end result of my Hulu Plus experience is that I simply do not know why anyone would opt for the paid version of the Hulu service. I am about three weeks into the first paid month of my Hulu Plus subscription and I find it highly unlikely that there will be a second paid month.