Why are Hulu Commercials so Loud?


Most Hulu users who pay the lowest subscription tier are well-acquainted with commercials on Hulu, and where some have made peace with them, many others have not been as cordial for them. They tend to either unsubscribe due to the commercials, upgrade, or just use an adblocker to get around them. For those who keep dealing with the commercials, however, a common complaint that comes up is just how loud Hulu’s commercials can be.

The simple explanation for why Hulu’s commercials are so loud compared to the shows and films is, at least in many cases, the commercials are played at a louder volume than the show itself to make the commercial particularly noticeable when compared to the show, a known marketing tactic that has been used in the past.

But can Hulu’s loud commercials be lowered? Is there a setting for this? Find out below!

Why are Hulu Commercials so Loud?

A specific tactic utilized to make commercials louder for the end user is to have the volume of the shows and films on the service lowered. This has the effect of forcing the viewer to turn their volume up to hear the content better, which means that when the commercials start, they will inevitably be louder than is reasonable (and the lower volume does not apply to them). Because of this, you are more likely to notice when the commercials come on than you normally would.

Are loud commercials a violation of FTC guidelines?

Believe it or not, commercials being too loud can be a violation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s guidelines surrounding commercials. Congress passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act in 2010, which aimed to limit the volume of commercials. Essentially, the average volume of a channel’s commercials could not be louder than the average volume of the actual content on the channel.

As we mentioned, however, advertisers are quite sneaky, so they found a clever way around this. What they would do is make some parts of the commercial louder than average, but compensating for this volume increase by decreasing the volume at other parts (sometimes at the beginning to make it seem like it’s not as loud). In doing so, the commercial manages to meet the average, while still using this loud volume to attract the audience’s attention.

The unfortunate thing about this, however, is that Hulu’s advertisements are not covered by the FTC regulation, as the FTC’s regulation only applies to television and not streaming services. However, even if it did, it is doubtful that the FTC would even do anything about it, as it has been particularly lax in its enforcement, despite reports of loud commercials being as high as they have ever been. Thus, the only way you can really affect change is to demand Hulu to fix the problem, or go about fixing it your own way.

Is there a way to turn down the volume of commercials on Hulu?

As good a feature as it would be for the commercial volume to be adjustable, it is unfortunately not possible to do that through Hulu. On TV, the only viable solutions would be to allow the overall volume of Hulu be lowered, lower the volume when commercials come on, or simply to cancel your account altogether. If you are watching Hulu on your computer, there is actually something you can do to help deal with this problem.

Untitled - October 28, 2022
Untitled - October 28, 2022

There are add-ons available for browsers that are designed to respond to Hulu commercials when they come on, possibly as a response to Hulu’s deceptive ad volume, that detects when a Hulu ad comes on. When one does, the browser add-on mutes the stream volume to dodge these annoyingly loud ads. Once the ads have finished, however, you can go back to actually enjoying what you are listening to.

For the most part, most major paid streaming services do not have an ad-supported model, making Hulu a bit of an outlier compared to their contemporary competition (Disney Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc.). However, the idea of an ad-supported tier level has seen some support from their competition. For example, HBO Max implemented an ad-supported tier (which promises only 4 minutes of ads per hour), and Netflix has been mulling over the idea.

How do I turn off commercials on Hulu?

If the commercials are proving to be too  big of an annoyance to deal with, there are multiple options you can take to deal with this. The most common method of getting rid of the commercials on Hulu is to simply upgrade to the ad-free option, which will cost $12.99 (as compared to the $6.99 ad-supported plan). This is an especially good option if you want to keep using Hulu, have the budget for the increase, and don’t want to go through hoops to use alternative options to fix the problem.

However, if you want to keep your Hulu subscription but don’t think you can reasonably afford to pay the extra $4.99 per month, you should look into ad blocker programs and apps. These kinds of things exist on both smartphones and on desktop, and are a great way to get an ad-free experience on Hulu. There is even a Google Chrome add-on that is specifically designed to block ads on Hulu, and you don’t even have to do anything complicated to make it work.

The problem with an ad blocker is that, at least with how these are designed, you have to use an ad blocker on each individual device you use Hulu on. Worse, if you are using a smart TV, such as a Roku or a Samsung, getting an ad blocker working on that is a complicated process. Particularly, this method utilizes router-based workarounds, but some apps on smart TVs have a way to get around that, such as the YouTube app.

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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