Hulu Bows Scripted TV Programs16 Jan, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Taking a page out of the Netflix playbook, Hulu Jan. 15 said it would launch three original series, beginning Feb. 14 with its first original scripted series, faux documentary workplace dramedy “Battleground.”
Burbank, Calif.-based Hulu said the series, along with a second season of Morgan Spurlock’s “A Day in the Life” documentary show, about the lives of extraordinary people, in March, will be available on both the ad-supported Hulu service and Hulu Plus subscription ($7.99) video-on-demand service.
Hulu, along with Netflix's SVOD service, has taken to producing original content, together with third-party license agreements, as a way to compete with pay-TV channels such as HBO and Showtime, among others.
This summer, Hulu will release writer-director Richard Linklater’s (Dazed and Confused) first episodic doc series, “Up to Speed.” Each week, the program follows tour guide and historian Timothy “Speed” Levitch (“The Cruise”) as he visits ignored monuments of America's cities, from the shoe gardens of San Francisco to the luckiest subway grate in New York City.
“Battleground,” which is set during a political campaign in the battleground state of Wisconsin, is set to bow the same month Netflix launches original series, “Lilyhammer.”
Hulu, which is co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and NBC Universal, announced recently it would spend $500 million on content license rights this year. It also ended 2011 with Hulu Plus topping 1.5 million subscribers and the service overall (including advertising) generating revenue of $420 million — up 60% from 2010.