Hulu Shuns Binge-Viewing for New Originals Slate10 Aug, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Seeking to differentiate itself from a Netflix-centered streaming landscape, Hulu Plus will bow new original episodic programming on an old-fashioned weekly basis.
The subscription streaming service co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and Comcast, has a mandate from Fox’s Rupert Murdoch to position itself as a major contender to Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Not enabling subscribers to overdose on a show’s full-season episodes at launch would mark a significant departure from a binge-viewing mindset created by Netflix when it launched its first original series, “Lilyhammer,” in 2012.
"We want to give viewers the opportunity to discover their favorite shows every week. Like you, we value the shared experience and the joy of the watercooler that is television,” Craig Erwich, SVP of content for Hulu, told the media Aug. 9 at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Hulu Plus, which has about 10 million subscribers, will implement the policy for upcoming programs “Casual,” “The Awesomes,” “Hotwives of Las Vegas,” “Rocketjump: The Show” and former Fox comedy “The Mindy Project.”
Subscribers will still be able to binge-view previous episodes.
The move comes as TV broadcasters scramble to emulate Netflix and over-the-top video's burgeoning rise that threatens to siphon away subscribers and advertisers.
NBC Universal streamed the entire season of new David Duchovny TV drama “Aquarius” following its May 28 broadcast premiere. It marked the first time the Comcast-owned network offered TV programming concurrently online for binge-viewing.
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said the move marked a “forward-thinking way” to offer entertainment to consumers in an evolving home entertainment ecosystem.
“We are fully aware how audiences want to consume multiple episodes of new television series faster and at their own discretion,” Greenblatt said.
While binge-viewing has become an increasing norm, including for creators of Hulu’s originals, the old-school move toward weekly telecasts is a welcomed twist.
"For me, the problem with binge-viewing is you don't get to talk about it with anybody and watch too quickly,” “Casual” producer Liz Tigelaar told The Los Angeles Times. “It's almost like overeating. You're not processing it fully. I think there's something great about being able to really digest something."