Hulu removes free trials and new signups from its Android app
Hulu has removed the ability to sign up for new accounts and free trials from its Android app. The move comes as Google has begun forcing third-party apps to switch to its Play billing system for in-app purchases. If an app doesn’t want to use the Play billing system, it should remove its own billing system. For Hulu, adopting Play Billing means sharing a revenue cut (up to 15%) with Google each time a new user signs up or renews their subscription. To prevent this, Hulu has now suspended new signups and free trials through its Android app.
The recent update to Hulu for Android and the Hulu app for Android TV removed the ability to sign up for a new account or a free trial. Prior to this change, Hulu displayed “Plans starting at $5.99/month” and a “Start Free Trial” button when you first launched the app. Now it only shows the sign in option next to the following message:
Are you trying to sign up for Hulu?
Sorry, we can’t register in the app. If you’re already a subscriber, log in below to start watching.
Although Hulu hasn’t officially disclosed the reasons behind the move, it’s likely driven by Google’s recent push to enforce its own billing system. Google’s new Play billing policy went into effect on April 31, 2022. Since then, we’ve seen many apps make changes to comply with updated payment rules. Last month, Barnes and Noble and Audible both removed the ability to purchase new books from their respective Android apps.
If you are already a Hulu subscriber, you can continue to enjoy the service without any interruption through the Android app. For now, new users wanting to try out the service will need to head to Hulu’s website or use the iOS app to create a new account.
In March, Google announced a new “User Choice Billing” program that allows certain app developers to keep or add their own billing system as long as they offer the Play billing system as an option. Currently, Spotify is the only confirmed User Choice Billing partner. It will be interesting to see if Google will allow Hulu, Audible, and Barnes & Nobles to take advantage of the new program.