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Hulu.com vs Hulu Plus vs Netflix Instant Streaming Content Selection

By Sam Cook

A recent study compared the offerings of Hulu.com and Hulu Plus, but how does Netflix Instant stack up in the same sample?

Is  Hulu Plus worth it? That was the question that immediately followed the announcement of Hulu’s long-rumored subscription service. While the $9.99/month plan still contains ads, it also provides more episodes—including back seasons of certain series. If Plus’ extra content is worth the cost and commercials, then it might be worth your while. And so the question became “How much extra content is Hulu Plus offering?” Research firm One Touch Intelligence decided to answer that question by conducting a  comprehensive census of what’s available on Hulu.com and Hulu Plus. Below is a sample of the data they collected.

Netflix Instant? For a dollar less than Plus, Netflix offers full access to their steaming catalog in addition to a one-at-a-time DVD rental. That seems like a good deal. But let’s see how their content compares with the Hulu.com/Plus sample data.


Network/SeriesHulu.comHulu PlusNetflix Instant
 ABC   
 8 Simple Rules 0 52 0
 Castle 5 23 0
 Cougar Town5 24 0
 Ugly Betty 10 72 0
 Supernanny 5 94 0
 Modern Family 0 24 0
 Fox   
 24 5 22 169
 Bones 10 27 84
 Family Guy 5 147 127*
 House 5 21 0
 Prison Break 0 77 80
 The Wanda Sykes Show 11 21 0
 NBC   
 30 Rock 5 75 58
 Friday Night Lights 5 13 50
 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon 11 187 0
 Law and Order: Special Victims Unit** 0 191 224
 My Name Is Earl 0 74 96
 Parks and Recreation 6 33   0
 
  *Netflix lists Family Guy according to its DVD Volumes, which differ from Family Guy seasons. So while you'll find Volume 8 listed in Netflix Instant, the season 8 episodes are not currently offered. Netflix also counts the Family Guy "100th Episode Special" as an episode, while other lists do not.
 **While the One Touch Intelligence chart lists this as "Law and Order" and not "Special Victims Unit," SVU is the show Hulu Plus promotes as a feature, so that's assumed to be the series being referenced.

Overall, Netflix stacks up well against the other options, although there seem to be some clear divisions along network lines.

contract between the two companies, it’s possible we’ll see a broader scope of Fox content on Instant in the future. NBC actually offers more episodes on Netflix for several shows, and only lacks where their newest episodes/series are concerned. Since Netflix Instant Stream content comes from movies and television shows already released DVDs, Jimmy Fallon’s show is absent because his show hasn’t been released on disc.

So now that you’ve got a good view of your streaming options, which column are you in?