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Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Hulu is steering customers toward its ad-supported, on-demand streaming package by lowering the price.

Why it matters: When the digital ad market fell to Google and Facebook, there was a rush by streamers and publishers make money off of subscriptions. But Google and Facebook haven’t really penetrated the digital TV ad market yet, so now everyone else is racing to get a piece of it.

Details: Hulu doesn't disclose how many of its 25 million subscribers are a part of each plan. But Variety reports the "majority" of customers are on the ad-supported on-demand tier.

  • Between the lines: Hulu hopes customers will buy into the cheaper package when up against its Netflix competitor.
  • Earlier this month, Hulu said it brought in $1.5 billion in ad revenue from 2018, a 50% increase.
  • Starting Feb. 26, its ad-supported streaming tier will go from $7.99 to $5.99 per month. The ad-free VOD plan will remain unchanged, at $11.99 per month
  • Yes, but: Hulu also announced that it will begin charging viewers more for its live TV package. Hulu With Live TV will go from $39.99 to $44.99 per month.
  • This makes sense given that many of Hulu's biggest live TV competitors, like YouTube TV, Sling TV and DirectTV Now, announced live TV price hikes last summer.

The big picture: Free digital, ad-supported streaming TV companies are rising as consumers face saturated budgets for subscription content.

  • NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke on a Comcast earnings call Wednesday morning emphasized what new NBCU streaming service will do to open up its addressable advertising inventory. Burke cited that 80% of U.S. addressable households are multichannel subscribers, a rare opportunity for streamers compared to the rest of the world.
  • Viacom CEO Bob Bakish announced yesterday that the company is purchasing Pluto TV, one of the fastest-growing ad-supported streaming TV companies in America.
  • Last week, Netflix raised U.S. streaming prices for all customers, including an 18% hike on its most popular plan, the standard two-stream HD tier, from $10.99 to $12.99 per month.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

3 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.