Hulu launches ad-free kids section on the web and on the PS3

Parents, Netflix (s NFLX) isn’t the only game in town anymore for kids content: Hulu launched a dedicated kids section on its website as well as on the PS3 Thursday morning, underscoring yet again how important kids content is to online video. The new section is advertising-free, but all of the videos are only available to Hulu Plus subscribers.

Hulu Kids comes with shows from PBS, Nickelodeon (s VIA) and Lionsgate, and the content is sorted by age groups. The total number of shows listed on the section currently stands at 43. A spokesperson confirmed that Hulu is working on bringing Hulu Kids as a separate content section within the Hulu Plus app to additional devices.

The new Hulu Kids section is noteworthy for two reasons: First of all, Hulu is obviously taking a page from Netflix’s playbook here. Netflix launched its own kids section on the web last summer, and has since started to bring the section to a number of mobile and connected devices. The main difference between the two offerings is that Netflix actually changed its design for the kids section to make it more visually appealing and easier to navigate for kids, whereas Hulu just relies on its recently relaunched web UI.

But Hulu Kids is also interesting for another reason: Making this kind of content exclusively available to Hulu Plus subscribers shows that Hulu is starting to put a much bigger emphasis on its paid offering, and slowly deemphasizing the free website in the process. The fact that these kids shows are available ad-free is good news for parents who don’t want their kids confronted with advertising, but it’s also a sign that Hulu is moving towards becoming a more direct competitor for Netflix, which has always been ad-free.