Hulu Officially Drops The “Plus,” But Service Remains The Same

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As promised earlier this spring at the NewFronts, Hulu is now officially dropping the “Plus” branding from its service in order to eliminate consumer confusion about the streaming video service. The change is being communicated to Hulu customers by way of an email message, rolling out now. Nothing else is changing with regard to the Hulu service, however – it will still have a free tier and a subscription-based, paid tier, both of which include ads. But it will all now be known as just “Hulu.”

According to the email Hulu users are receiving, the name change is being referred to as a “retiring:”

We’ve had a blast with our old friend Plus but it’s time to move on. We just wanted to let you know that we are retiring the Hulu Plus name. From now on, we will just be known as Hulu. No “Plus.”

Though the company is making the name change official with its announcement, the rebranding itself is expected to be more of a slow transition, we’ve heard. Today, there are still two Hulu apps on the Google Play store, for example: Hulu and Hulu Plus. And the iOS app has yet to be updated as well – it’s still titled “Hulu Plus.” The rebranding across all Hulu’s apps may end up taking more time, and some users on some platforms may see the changes before others.

Today, the company has apps that run on iOS, Android, Roku, PS3 and PS4, Xbox One, Chromecast, Apple TV, Nexus Player, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Kindle Fire, 3DS, PS Vita, Nook, Wii and more. In other words – there’s a lot to update with regard to the name change.

The decision to make the shift to just “Hulu” arose following consumer research and data analysis on Hulu’s part where the company found that the Hulu name alone had a lot of brand recognition behind it, but consumers found the additional “Plus” label confusing. Internally, the company has been referring to this as a “marketing change” only, as the apps and services aren’t affected and the logo is also remaining the same following the shift.

The move comes at a time when the streaming service, now with nearly 9 million paying users, is looking to better compete with others like Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, both of which rely on subscription revenues – the latter as part of Amazon’s larger Prime membership program. Hulu’s service itself has been growing significantly in recent months – paid subscriptions are up 50 percent over last year, CEO Mike Hopkins said in April. And video streams in the beginning of the year were already up 77 percent in the first 90 days.

“2015 is the year Hulu will break out,” Hopkins had said at the time.

Earlier, we heard Hulu wasn’t planning on broadly advertising the name change to its customer base, but apparently the company decided that some level of communication was warranted.