Hayu Review: American Reality TV for the UK, Europe, and Beyond

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Americans may feel like their homegrown reality TV is the only thing airing at times, but it can be hard to find for those across the pond and around the world. Hayu is a streaming service that offers the newest reality TV shows with plenty of episodes added as they air in the States.

In a hurry? Hayu offers well over 300 shows for roughly £4.99 (€5.99) per month (it varies a bit by country and currency). Try it free for 7 days!

Overwrought voiceovers. “Shocking” revelations and manufactured cliffhangers. Tell-all confessionals. Staged conflict. Catfights. Catfish. Manipulation that would make Machiavelli look like Mr Bean. Scheming, betrayals, brutal lies, even more brutal honesty, and so many tears you’ll want to buy stock in Kleenex. 

From the competitive to the voyeuristic, from the “Aw, shucks!” families to entertainment moguls in Atlanta, everyone knows that 90% of “reality” TV is about as real as Kim Kardashian’s latest hair color. But that doesn’t keep it from being hyper-addictive binge-fodder.

If you’re hooked on reality shows, then you absolutely need Hayu, a streaming service consisting of little but reality TV, all kinds. Ready to meet the participants?

Let’s look at Hayu’s pros and cons first.

ProsCons
✔ New episodes available in hours❌ Mostly NBCUniversal programs
✔ Back-catalogs available❌ Streaming on one device at a time
✔ No ads❌ No 4K
✔ Low subscription cost

Hayu Overview

Hayu is an on-demand video subscription service that specializes in mostly American reality programming. “On-demand” means it’s similar to Netflix or Disney+. You can watch programs at the time and pace that suits you. It does not have any live channels with schedules like traditional terrestrial, cable, or satellite networks. 

The cost per month varies depending on your country. It is roughly 5 to 6 euros everywhere, although it is substantially less some places.

  • Australia: AUD$6.99
  • Belgium: €5.99/mo
  • Denmark: DKK49/mo
  • Europe*: €4.99/mo
  • Canada: CAD$5.99/mo
  • Czech Rep: Kč129/mo
  • Hong Kong: HK$40/mo
  • Hungary: Ft1790/mo
  • Ireland: €5.99/mo
  • Luxembourg: €5.99/mo
  • Norway: NOK49/mo
  • Philippines: ₱149/mo
  • Poland: zł19.99/mo
  • Singapore: SG$4.99/mo
  • Sweden: SEK49/mo
  • Switzerland: CHF5/mo
  • UK: £4.99/mo

“Europe” consists of Austria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, and Spain. Hayu is available in India for ₹349 for 3 months or ₹999 for a year.

In most countries, there is roughly a 20% discount for paying 6 months in advance and a 25% discount for paying 12 months in advance. You can try it out with a 7-day free trial.

Hayu Homepage
The homepage of Hayu.com.

Hayu Content

Hayu is run by NBCUniversal, an American media company that owns the channels Bravo, USA, Oxygen, and E! — among others. As a result, the shows on Hayu are almost exclusively from NBCU’s back-catalog of reality TV. Hayu is offered outside the United States where NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock isn’t available.

Current shows are added within a day of first airing, often within hours. Unlike many other streaming services of this type, Hayu has an expansive archive of old series, such as all twenty seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Reality shows come in several broad types: the “fly-on-the-wall” observational docusoaps, the hidden camera “gotchas,” and the competitions and contests with the audience and/or participants actively deciding the winners.

These come in a variety of flavors: romance, personal makeovers, health interventions, DIY home repairs, improvements, and design, true crime, workplace situations, celebrity families, talent competitions, and so forth. And, of course, there is overlap.

Hayu tends to run heavy on the celebrity/wealthy lifestyle (loads of shows about the Kardashians and the Real Housewives) and lighter on the home improvement

Popular Shows

Shows listed as “Hayu Picks” include:

  • 911 Crisis Center: Behind the scenes with emergency dispatchers responding to real-life crises.
  • Backyard Envy: “Two Wills and a Grace” give a variety of blah outdoor spaces lush landscaping makeovers.
  • Basketball Wives: Miami: Basketball superstars’ wives, girlfriends, and exes mix it up. Drama ensues. Check out the LA season, too!
  • Below Deck Down Under: The no-holds-barred look at crew life on ultra-luxury yachts heads to the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. You can also watch the original Below Deck, Below Deck: Mediterranean, and Below Deck Sailing Yacht.
  • Botched: Doctors fix cosmetic surgery blunders. It has spawned spin-offs Botched by Nature and Botched: Post Op.
  • The Circus: Inside the Big Top with the Weber Brothers Circus family.
  • Families of the Mafia: Follow the lives of Staten Island mobsters and their families.
  • Family Karma: Follow the lives of a tight-knit group of Indian-American friends and their multi-generational families in Miami.
  • For Real: The Story of Reality TV: Andy Cohen hosts a retrospective on reality TV through the decades. Guests include the Kardashians, cast members of The Real World, former The Bachelor contestants, and personalities from America’s Next Top Model, American Idol, and The Apprentice.
  • The Hype: Fashion designers compete to create the most striking streetwear.
  • Kandi & the Gang: Real Housewives of Atlanta alumnus Kandi Burruss-Tucker serves up drama at her Old Lady Gang restaurant.
  • Project Runway: A contest between top fashionistas to receive a career-igniting boost.
  • The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Porsha’s Family Matters: Revolves around fan-favorite Porsha Williams and her extended family’s reaction to her engagement to Simon Guobadia. Other versions of the show are available: Auckland, Beverly Hills, Cheshire, DC, Dallas, Durban, Jersey, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Miami, New Jersey, New York City, Orange County, Potomac, Salt Lake City, and Sydney.
  • Relatively Famous: Ranch Rules: Eight young adult children of celebrities are confounded by sheep shearing and grossed out by artificial insemination. The show has includesd offspring of Pat Benetar, David Hasselhoff, Martin Lawrence, Shaquille O’Neal, Ray Parker Jr, Billy Bob Thornton, and Eazy-E.
  • Sweet Life: Los Angeles: Black youths in South Los Angeles share their perspectives on following their dreams.
  • Top Chef: From the production company that brought you Project Runway, chefs do culinary battle for a cash prize. See also: Top Chef Duels, Top Chef: Amateurs, Top Chef Junior, Top Chef Masters, and Top Chef: Just Desserts.

Note that not all shows are available everywhere. Licensing can be complicated and a particular show may be available in one country and not another.

Hayu Availability

Hayu is currently available throughout most of the European Union and in the UK, Australia, Canada, Iceland, India, The Philippines, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Show selection can vary due to location.

Hayu is not available in the US. Those interested should check out Peacock.

Hayu User Experience

Hayu Supported Devices

Hayu supports most of the major streaming platforms in most of the places it’s available, but device support does vary somewhat depending on your country.

The Hayu app is available on all the following platforms in every country:

  • Android mobile
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • iOS
  • LG SmartTVs
  • Web browser
  • Xbox

All countries except India and Iceland also support:

  • Chromecast
  • Samsung SmartTVs

About half also support Amazon platforms and devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Prime Video Channels
  • Kindle Fire

A handful (UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada) support Roku and another handful (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Poland) support Viaplay.

The rest of the platforms are country-specific, in addition to the above:

  • Bell TV (Canada)
  • Cmore (Finland, Sweden)
  • Cignal TV (The Philippines)
  • Fetch TV (Australia)
  • Hisense (Australia)
  • Netgem (UK)
  • NOW (UK, Ireland)
  • Rogers Ignite (Canada)
  • Shaw BlueCurve (Canada)
  • Telus Optik TV (Canada)
  • Telstra TV (Australia)
  • TV2 Play Denmark (Denmark)
  • TV2 Play Norway (Norway)
  • Ziggo TV (The Netherlands)

A chart showing a complete listing of platforms and countries is on the Hayu website.

Features

There are some good points to the Hayu interface. For example, each thumbnail has a one-sentence synopsis of the program and how many seasons are available. So you know right up front just how many hours of your life you stand to lose to bingeing Married to Medicine: Atlanta (8 seasons) versus Boss Nails (1 season).

Another feature is the ability to download episodes to your iOS or Android mobile device for offline viewing. Yes, please! to a Below Deck marathon for that long flight!

The interface is fairly standard — categories across the top, starting with “New Additions,” so you don’t have to wade through older content (of which there is a lot) to get to the new stuff. This is followed by “The Real Housewives,” “True Crime,” “Kardashian Kontent,” “Love & Dating,” “Famous Faces,” and a dozen more similar groupings. Further down are featured collections of shows: “Addictive Drama,” “Hang With the Housewives,” “Ultimate Adventures,” “Girl Power,” etc.

Unfortunately, what Hayu has in sweet, sweet gossipy, glittery trash, it lacks in its features and general usability. A number of elements that are considered standard for modern streaming services are absent.

There are no individual user profiles within an account, meaning that if you want to share the app with your family or flatmates, there’s no way to save your series progress separately for each person.

You can only stream on one device at a time, so if you’re watching Million Dollar Listing, your spouse can’t also be checking out Top Chef.

And there are no localized subtitles or audio tracks. All shows are in English, with English subtitles. (Hayu promotes this, not without cause, as a feature, not an omission.) The sole exception to this appears to be Norwegian users watching on TV2 Play Norway can get Norwegian subtitles.

Wrapping Up

It’s pretty simple. If you enjoy reality TV shows like Below Deck or The Real Housewives, then you should check out the Hayu free trial. What do you have to lose? And if you’re the type of person who loves watching women with way too much money scream at each other over who slept with whose man, then this is your bag, baby — what are you waiting for?!

FAQs

Is Hayu worth it?

That depends — do you actually pick up and open the supermarket tabloids, instead of just surreptitiously reading the headlines when you think no one’s looking? Do you hang on Kendall Kardashian’s every exploit? Do you find yourself watching lurid, real-life murder investigations with a half-liter of gelato at 3 am? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then Hayu is more than worth it; it’s a great deal.

How long is Hayu’s free trial?

Hayu’s free trial is seven days. You may see old reviews that talk about a thirty-day trial, and at some point in Hayu’s six year history, that may have been true, but the current free trial is only one week. But that should be long enough to see if it’s right for you.

Is Hayu available in the US?

No, Hayu is not available in the US. And worse still is that although Peacock provides a lot of reality TV, it doesn’t offer everything that’s available with Hayu. Do you want to check out The Circus or The Hype? Peacock in the United States doesn’t carry any of NBCUniversal’s non-US-based shows. This includes programs produced for E! in Australia.

Alanna Baker

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