The past two years have seen huge growth in the number of streaming services available as many major studios have launched their own platforms to compete with Netflix and Amazon. But alongside Disney +, HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount Plus, there’s one major streaming service that’s been around longer than most – Hulu.
Hulu launched to the public in March 2008. It was a joint venture between several studios, including News Corporation and NBC Universal, to bundle episodes of popular TV shows in one place. Disney became a stakeholder in 2009, adding to the platform’s growing library of content.
Disney’s control over Hulu increased in 2019, when it bought Fox’s entertainment assets, giving it a 60% stake in the company. This was quickly followed by AT&T and Comcast selling their shares to Disney, giving the studio full control over the platform.
Today, Hulu is said to have 43 million subscribers in the United States. However, some questions about Disney’s plans for the platform remain. With major studios retrieving their content for their own services, Hulu is no longer the place to go to find the best shows under one roof. But also, Disney has its other platform – Disney + – which appears to be much more of a priority for the studio in terms of growing a subscriber base and producing original content.
So, is Hulu worth subscribing in 2021? Let’s see how much it costs and what you get for your money:
A Hulu subscription costs $ 13 per month for the ad-free version or $ 7 per month with ads. The ad-supported version is also available as an annual subscription for $ 80 per year, reducing the monthly cost to $ 5.80.
Some bundled options are also available. Ad-supported Hulu with Live TV costs $ 65 per month, while the ad-free version with Live TV costs $ 71. There’s also a plan that includes ad-supported Hulu, Disney +, and ESPN for $ 14 per month, or $ 20 for Disney +, ESPN, and Hulu ad-free. Finally, ad-supported Hulu, Disney +, and Live TV cost $ 73 per month.
Hulu’s site has a clean and well-organized design. Like most streaming services, the homepage features a large banner for a new, high-profile release, followed by more personalized TV and movie suggestions, presumably based on previous views (two of the six movies it mulled over). ‘suggested starred Nicolas Cage, so clearly knows something). That said, the TV suggestions seem more hit and miss, putting some of Hulu’s new originals ahead of content from other studios. Other sections of the home page include “Hulu Picks”, “Recently Added Movies” and “Award Winning TV”.
There are currently five links at the top of each page. The Film and TV sections are divided by genre, with these ranging from the more obvious “Thrillers” and “Horror” to sub-sections such as “Lifestyle and Culture” and “Food and Drink”. Impressively, there are also sections for “Black Stories”, “LGTBQ +” and “Latino”. There are also links for “My Stuff”, which displays your wishlist, as well as “Hubs”, which provides access to specific content from studios and brands such as Fox, Freeform, Adult Swim, SyFy, MTV and National Geographic. The fifth link is a temporary link for “Vacation,” pulling together all of Hulu’s seasonal shows and movies.
Throughout the site, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of Hulu content, it’s easy to find. The full listings are accessible from every page and section, with alphabetical listings of each movie and show revealed by clicking “See more.”
The Android and iOS apps are very similar in site layout and easy to navigate. Movies and shows can be downloaded through the app for offline viewing. One missing thing that Disney + or Netflix users might miss is a group watch feature. But that’s a small omission from an otherwise well-designed and user-friendly experience.
So the big question is, what can I watch on Hulu? There is certainly no shortage of titles on the platform, both in terms of originals, titles released by Disney, and licensed content. So let’s see in more detail:
Hulu offers a wide selection of movies, but there are a few caveats. You won’t find many new blockbusters on Hulu, with the big studios keeping their movies for their own services and Disney + the place to go for Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. However, fans of international, arthouse and independent cinema will find what they are looking for. Some of the most acclaimed films from last year can be found there, such as Nomadland, Pig, and Another Round, alongside R-rated Disney-owned titles that won’t be found on Disney +, including Deadpool.
There is an assortment of movies from large catalogs from other studios available, such as The Matrix, Skyfall, The Hunger Games, and Terminator: Dark Fate. Beyond that, Hulu has a good range of genre films, especially horror and sci-fi, and its selection of Hulu Originals continues to grow. Recent releases include the horror film Run and the time-looped action comedy Boss Level. Overall, there’s no shortage of movies to watch on Hulu, but don’t expect to find a specific title available – watching in the movies section is more like going through the shelves of a video store and picking up something. that looks interesting.
The real strength of Hulu lies in its television content. The company has produced some superb shows in recent years, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Nine Perfect Strangers and The Great, while Dopesick and the comedy Only Murders in the Building are recent additions to its line of acclaimed series. The Fox deal also means that Fox and FX shows can be found on Hulu, such as What We Do In The Shadows, American Horror Story, Y: The Last Man, and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. There is also a plethora of catalogs of comedies and dramas, documentaries, and reality shows.
Hulu also has a fantastic selection of animated shows and movies. Highlights include One Piece, Attack on Titan, Akira, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Demon Slayer. You can check out GameSpot’s guide to the best anime shows and movies on Hulu here.
So is Hulu worth the cost of a subscription? If you’re a fan of quality TV shows, comedies, and documentaries, the price is definitely worth it, especially with the ad-supported model that keeps the monthly cost low. Likewise, if you already have Disney +, the package is worth it if you’re looking to expand your choice beyond the more family-friendly deals.
However, if you already have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and some of the other great services like HBO Max or Peacock, Hulu might not offer a huge amount that you don’t get elsewhere, especially in terms of movies. Of course, the selection of movies is quite varied, but with so many choices already available, then this could be a monthly cost that you can live without. Likewise, while the anime selection is impressive, die-hard anime fans may already be subscribed to services like Crunchyroll or Funimation. Still, more casual anime fans will find a nice addition to it, giving them access to some of the best versions of the genre without having to pay for any of these specialized platforms.
Overall, Hulu has a lot to offer, but it might be worth checking out if this is exactly right for you before signing up.