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Hulu Plus Reaches 9 Million Subscribers

29 Apr, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Service signs exclusive rights to ‘Seinfeld’ TV series, in addition to future AMC Networks programming

Hulu Plus, the subscription streaming third wheel to Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, is taking major steps to up its profile.

At the Hulu upfront presentation April 29 in New York, CEO Mike Hopkins, head of sales Peter Naylor and head of content Craig Erwich joined comedian Jerry Seinfeld on stage at the Hammerstein Ballroom in announcing exclusive streaming rights to iconic sitcom “Seinfeld,” co-created by Seinfeld and Larry David.

It marks the first time “Seinfeld” will be available on SVOD.

Hulu, which is co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and NBC Universal, announced a license agreement with AMC Networks for exclusive streaming access to future AMC programming. Hulu will also become the streaming home for a number of films from the IFC Films collection.

“We believe in the combination of compelling content and technology to engage audiences and deliver viewers back to the linear television experience,” said Ed Carroll, COO of AMC Networks.

The service said its subscriber base has grown to nearly nine million subs, a 50% increase since 2014. Within the first 90 days of 2015, total streams have increased 77% and, in that same period of time, viewers have already streamed more than 700 million hours of premium content on Hulu. On average, a Hulu viewer is watching 30% more content.

“Every category of measurement including hours watched and hours streamed is up dramatically year over year. With additional marketing spend, bigger content acquisitions and a new slate of premium originals, the Hulu drumbeat will only continue to grow louder and louder,” Hopkins said.

Hulu, unlike Amazon Prime and Netflix, embeds advertising in both Hulu and Hulu Plus. Over the next few years, Hulu will roll out “programmatic ad buying,” a new service that combines Hulu’s data with an ad brand to provide more-effective targeting solutions.

Hulu said programmatic advertising capabilities combine media automation and data to enhance advertising opportunities into the most effective series, episodes and time slots. Hulu said this would allow it to target the right ad to the right user at the right time.

Pending Hulu original programming includes “11/23/63,” which streams in 2016 starring James Franco, Daniel Webber and Chris Cooper and co-produced by J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, whose 2011 novel is the basis for the series.

Other series include “Difficult People,” “Casual,” “The Way” and “Rocketship: The Show,” all streaming this year.

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