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Fox: Hulu Not Going Abroad, For Now

7 Aug, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As Netflix readies expansion into six European countries next month with Amazon Prime Instant Video hovering in the background, Hulu (and Hulu Plus) aims to remain a domestic streaming service for the time being, according to co-owner 21st Century Fox.

Speaking Aug. 6 during the fiscal call, Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox, was asked if Hulu would follow Netflix and Amazon into foreign markets.

Carey said not at the moment, adding that new CEO Mike Hopkins has done “a really good job” implementing a new management team and making an impact in the domestic SVOD market.

“His priority, his focus is to really build scale [and] get Hulu in the domestic marketplace and from there we’ll see where it goes. But that is the priority focus,” Carey said.

Hulu, which is also owned by The Walt Disney Co. and Comcast, last year took down the platform’s “for sale” sign, installed new senior management and received a $700 million financial lifeline from its corporate partners earmarked for content spending on original programming.

In January, Hulu unveiled its platform of original content, including supernatural comedy "Deadbeat," directed by Troy Miller ("Arrested Development") and starring Tyler Labine (“Reaper”), Cat Deeley ("So You Think You Can Dance") and Brandon T. Jackson (Tropic Thunder). "Deadbeat," which launches April 9, is Hulu’s first co-production with Lionsgate’s television production unit.

Hulu is also releasing the original Scandinavian version of the drama series “The Bridge,” recently adapted for U.S. audiences by FX, as well as the Canadian hit reality-style dance drama “The Next Step,” acquired from BBC Worldwide North America.

Hulu is exclusively distributing reality TV satire "The Hotwives of Orlando,” from Paramount Digital Entertainment. The show stars Casey Wilson ("Happy Endings"), Angela Kinsey ("The Office"), Kristen Schaal ("Flight of the Conchords"), Tymberlee Hill ("Drunk History"), Danielle Schneider ("Upright Citizens Brigade") and Andrea Savage ("Step Brothers") as six of Orlando, Florida’s hottest housewives who are ready to drink, fight and cry, sometimes all at the same time.

Returning originals include a second season of Chris O’Dowd’s semi-autobiographical comedy "Moone Boy,” and teen drama "East Los High," featuring the first all-Latino cast in an English-language series. In the second half of 2014, Hulu will release second seasons of Seth Meyers' and Mike Shoemaker’s animated show "The Awesomes," featuring the voices of many current and former "SNL" members, Josh Greenbaum’s docu-series "Behind the Mask,” and John Lehr and Nancy Hower’s Western comedy "Quick Draw." Tom Hollander also returns in season three of "Rev.”

"Originals are a rapidly expanding part of Hulu's business. We're excited to offer our users an exclusive variety of distinctive, smart, and entertaining shows in 2014 that showcase some of the best talent making television today, both in the U.S. and around the world," Charlotte Koh, head of original development at Hulu, said in January.

The platform also secured exclusive SVOD rights to the "South Park" catalog.

Hulu ended 2013 with nearly $1 billion in revenue (the platform sells advertising, unlike Netflix and Amazon Prime), and topped 6 million subscribers at the end of April. While the platform launched the same year (2008) as Netflix Instant Video, the latter has dominated (and defined) the subscription streaming market — including international expansion.


About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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