Less than two months after word trickled out that Hulu was toying with the idea of going commercial-free, it is finally giving its users the chance -- for a price. The company announced Wednesday it has launched a new tier of service that allows users to watch its shows without commercial interruption. It costs $11.99 per month, $4 more than Hulu Plus, a premium tier that offers access to its catalog with limited commercial interruptions.
"At Hulu, we pride ourselves on listening to our customers and giving them the best possible experience," Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said in the announcement. "Many of our customers have asked us for a commercial-free option, and so today we are excited to introduce just that."
Years after Hulu, a joint venture owned by Disney, NBC and Fox, launched in 2007, it is beginning to find its footing. The company announced this year that it now has 9 million paying subscribers, up 50 percent from 2014.
That total still leaves the company badly behind its primary rival, Netflix, which has 42 million subscribers in the United States alone. But Hulu also has spent the year aggressively trying to differentiate itself from Netflix, which has come under fire for letting its streaming rights to a number of well-known shows and movies expire as it doubles down on its investments in original content.
Earlier this week, Hulu announced it snapped up the rights to films on EPIX just days after Netflix let them go, and it made waves earlier this summer when it secured exclusive streaming rights to "Seinfeld." It is also the only on-demand streaming service that allows users to add access to Showtime.
Hulu hasn't contented itself with simply amassing pre-existing shows. The company also has put a number of high-profile original projects into production, including "11/22/63," a Stephen King- and J.J. Abrams-led show starring James Franco, and "The Way (wt)," which stars Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" fame.