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Most of us have used an online video streaming service at least once in our lifetimes, and many of us have subscriptions to one as well. Among the most popular are the consistently competitive Netflix and Hulu duo, which people seem to argue over constantly in an attempt to crown one of them the reigning champion of video streaming.


Even though there is a lot of controversy surrounding which of the two streaming services is better than the other, Netflix and Hulu really aren’t as similar as most people make them out to be: they serve different entertainment audiences. Hulu can be considered a collection of all of your favorite shows and some movies, while Netflix has strayed away from the realm of being a TV show archive to producing its own, original content. A basic subscription to Netflix in 2019 costs $8.99 per month, which is an increase from their previous $7.99 per month plan.

Netflix went public in 1998 as a small-scale online DVD rental company, founded by Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings in Scotts Valley, California. As technology advanced, Netflix wanted to expand their horizons as well and took inspiration from YouTube. They saw an opportunity to break into a market for video streaming that didn’t exist before. YouTube was an extremely popular video streaming site that people used regardless of the fact that the actual quality of the videos was relatively poor. In 2007, Netflix took this concept and transformed themselves into the streaming service we all know today.


Netflix’s original logo from their launch in 1998.


Being the only major competitor to Netflix other than Amazon, Hulu had some pretty big shoes to fill—but they went about it in the perfect way. As Netflix gained popularity, they had to respond to the ever-changing demand of their customers viewing preferences. Never before did we have a streaming service that we could use as a one-stop-shop for all of our favorite TV shows and movies.

Netflix’s most recent logo.


When Netflix began to take things off and replace them with new shows, movies and documentaries, Hulu was able to break into the business by doing what Netflix wasn’t: streaming the favorites that Netflix had either removed or never added. Hulu listened to the Netflix customers when they were angry about a removal and were able to add that show to their own service to try and attract and extract their audience. This is also true for shows that people requested that Netflix ignored, and with the rise of social media during this timeframe, it was becoming increasingly easier to have instant feedback from customers—especially from rival companies—and be able to adapt and change quickly and accordingly.

Hulu launched in 2008, and since then it has become increasingly more popular. A subscription to Hulu is currently $5.99 per month, a whole three USD less than Netflix. Another perk that Hulu offers that Netflix lacks is the student discount bundle which they have partnered with Spotify and Showtime for. This bundle costs $4.99 and includes a subscription to Hulu, Spotify and ShowTime. If you aren’t a student and still want access to this bundle, it will cost you $9.99.

Hulu is testing out their new logo in 2019, which reads, “Hulu; Come TV With Us”


Netflix and Hulu began as huge competitors in a market that was relatively new to both of them, as well as to the rest of the world, but as technology advances and we gain deeper understandings of the technology we possess, they have grown into their own markets. Hulu is tailored for people who want to watch their favorite TV show or maybe find a new one to start, while Netflix has branched out into producing and creating original series, movies and documentaries. To date, Netflix has been nominated for 225 Emmys, 43 of which they have won.

Netflix has been nominated for 225 Emmy awards, 43 of which they have won. 


The battle between the differing streaming services will live on in the same way the battle between Apple Music and Spotify has. You may never be able to know which of them is for you until you try them, so it’s very convenient that both of these services have a free, one-month trial you can use to test them out.

Netflix Free One-Month Trial: https://www.netflix.com/signup/planform

Hulu Free One-Month Trial: https://signup.hulu.com/plans

Christina is a junior at West Virginia University studying journalism and fashion business. Christina is a media intern at WVUToday, where she reports and edits stories daily. She has held editing and directing roles in HC at WVU, and is currently a co-president of the organization. She has been published three times in Mirage Magazine, a branch off of Ed on Campus. Christina is also in charge of the activism teams newly implemented in HC at WVU: VOICES— a student-run podcast exploring current social issues. Woman-Up—bringing awareness to the underrepresentation of women in the media field. The Pad Project—an international non-profit partnership to raise awareness surrounding the lack of education and stigmas around menstruation in developing countries. Upon graduation, Christina would like to work in the PR/Marketing fields of the fashion industry.
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