With all the new ad-supported streaming services available now, finding the right platform for you has a wealth of options. Check out the list below for a breakdown of the top streaming platforms to get an in-depth look at ads, focusing on number and duration.
Netflix launched a new tier recently that is $6.99 compared to its ad-free Basic plan at $9.99 a month. Basic with Ads averages 4-5 minutes of ads per hour, depending on the film/series selection and run time. Ads are between 15 to 30 seconds long each and are shown before and during most series/films. Ads aren’t included in children’s programs or new Netflix Original films. Netflix does not offer a free trial, but members can change their tier plan at any time.
Hulu is a bit pricier, coming in at $7.99 a month with ads. Plans without ads will cost members $14.99+ a month, depending on the tier they choose. Ads are played at the beginning of videos and during breaks that last up to 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Ad length varies depending on the video with approximately have about 4-6 ads per hour. Shorter videos may not have ads if they run under 22 minutes. Personally, I think Hulu has the loudest ads of any streaming platform I’ve tried so far. The volume difference between the show and the ad is deafening. On the plus side, Hulu does offer a 30-day free trial for both plan options and students can sign up for $1.99 a month.
As for Prime Video, the streaming platform generally does not show ads for videos included in a membership plan, though some of these titles can come with an additional rental fee. The platform does include various different channels that can either be watched for free with ads or require a monthly subscription. Ad times vary depending on each channel, averaging around 15 seconds each. A Prime Video membership is $14.99 a month and $7.49 for students after a lengthy 6-month Prime Student trial.
Amazon’s Freevee is a free ad-supported streaming service with a short 10-second ad at the beginning and throughout a video, ranging from 10-65 seconds each. Depending on the length of the video, the total ad time can range from 75 – 100 seconds per video. What’s unique about Freevee is that you don’t have to sign up to watch but providing an email will allow you to continue watching where you left off or save videos for future viewings.
HBO Max is one of the most expensive streaming platforms at $15.99 a month. Its new ad-supported tier is $9.99 and averages about 4 minutes of ads per hour. Ads play at the beginning with approximately two 30-45 second ads per 30-minute show. Movies carry more ads that can vary from 30 seconds to 1 minute, roughly 9 ads total, though some have none at all. Members can view how many commercial breaks each video has by checking for small breaks in the play progress line at the bottom of their screens. HBO Max doesn’t offer a free trial, so this is a less expensive way to test out if you like their service before considering switching to the ad-free version.
Paramount+ costs members $9.99 a month, but without ads is only $4.99 monthly. Of all the services tested, it seems to have the most number of advertisements. Videos begin with a 10-15 second ad before each video and rack up a daunting 5 commercial break per hour that can last as long as 4 minutes each. Paramount+ is one of the cheapest options available, but the number of ads may dissuade customers from continuing their subscriptions. It does offer a free trial and students are eligible for a 25% discount.
Disney+ offers an ad-supported tier costing $7.99 a month or $10.99 without ads. Ads average between 30-45 seconds each, and play before and during a show/movie. Each video averages 3-4 ad breaks that are roughly 2-4 minutes each, depending on the video length. Disney+ also offers two bundle packages that look to provide the most savings for customers who use multiple streamlining services. Members can either choose Hulu and Disney+ for $9.99 a month or also add ESPN for a total of $12.99 per month. Students can get an additional 25% off.