Hulu picks up Seinfeld, sets deal with AMC, BBC America and details four originals
This week Hulu held its Upfront Presentation in New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, at the event were Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins, Head of Advertising Sales, Peter Naylor, and SVP, Head of Content, Craig Erwich. The company had several major announcements, including that Hulu has acquired the exclusive subscription video on-demand (SVOD) rights to all episodes of iconic sitcom Seinfeld, as well as a new, multi-year agreement with AMC that grants Hulu the streaming rights to future programming from AMC Networks.
The company also had several new announcements regarding their new upcoming slate of Hulu Originals, the company took the stage to publicly unveil new business growth benchmarks – including a 50% increase in subscribers – advertising innovations, and a deal with Cablevision Systems Corporation that will be rolled out over the next year.
The company announced that its subscriber base has grown to nearly nine million subscribers. Within the first 90 days of 2015, total streams have increased by 77% and, in that same period of time, viewers have already streamed over 700 million hours of premium content on Hulu. On average, each Hulu viewer is watching at least 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,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu.
Hulu’s SVP, Head of Content, Craig Erwich was joined by Jerry Seinfeld on stage at the Hulu Upfront to announce that Hulu has acquired the exclusive SVOD rights to all episodes of the award-winning, hit series Seinfeld. After becoming one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, all nine seasons of the comedy series will make their SVOD debut exclusively on Hulu.
The series comes to Hulu in a new deal with Sony Pictures Television. Every episode of Seinfeld will be available for Hulu subscribers to stream this June.
“There’s no question that Seinfeld has played a major role in TV history, which is why we cannot wait to make all episodes of the series available to stream for the first time ever on Hulu. Whether you are an existing fan who just wants to relive your favorite moments over and over again, or are a new viewer who wants to experience Seinfeld from the very beginning, Hulu will now be your destination to stream what has been dubbed as one of the greatest shows of all time,” said Craig Erwich, SVP, Head of Content, Hulu.
Hulu also announced a multi-year deal with AMC Networks Inc. for the exclusive SVOD rights to new and upcoming primetime scripted comedy and drama series from AMC, IFC, BBC America, Sundance TV and WE tv. The new agreement will make Hulu the exclusive streaming home to the highly anticipated companion series to The Walking Dead, titled: Fear the Walking Dead. Through the deal, Hulu will – over time – become the SVOD home to a diverse and comprehensive collection of AMC Networks Inc.-produced content.
Hulu will also become the streaming home for a significant number of films from the IFC Films collection. Full seasons of future series produced by AMC Networks will be available to stream exclusively on Hulu following their network season runs.
“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, Chief Operating Officer, AMC Networks. “AMC Networks has been the original home of some of the most popular shows in the history of online streaming, and we are excited about this new partnership with Hulu, a growing company that has created a network-branded environment for content in a highly competitive space.”
“AMC Networks has an incredible reputation and track record in producing captivating storytelling across a variety of genres for true connoisseurs of television,“ said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu. “This huge partnership guarantees that Hulu viewers will soon be able to enjoy the newest slate of premium programming from some of the top cable networks.”
Hulu announced that it would soon be available to Cablevision Optimum customers. Optimum is the first cable provider to announce plans to provide its customers with access to Hulu’s comprehensive catalog of content. The deal will make Hulu accessible directly to Optimum subscribers in the New York area. Pricing and availability date will be announced in the near future.
“At Hulu we believe users should have the ability to consume their favorite content, when, where and how they want,” said Tim Connolly, SVP, Head of Distribution, Hulu. “Even with the rapid growth in streaming, there is a huge audience that consumes television through their cable provider, and we want to be there for them too.”
“The partnership with Hulu reflects Cablevision’s desire to meet customers where they are,” said Kristin Dolan, Chief Operating Officer, Cablevision. “There is a new generation of consumers who access video through the Internet, and whatever their preference, Cablevision will facilitate a great content experience.”
Hulu’s commitment to becoming more accessible to viewers, across more devices, will continue to be a priority in 2015 and the company will roll out on several providers beginning this summer through additional MVPD deals.
Hulu Originals Slate
Premiere date: 2016
Cast: James Franco, Daniel Webber, Sarah Gadon, Chris Cooper, Cherry Jones, George MacKay, Lucy Fry, Leon Rippy and Brooklyn Sudano
Crew: Executive Produced by J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk
Synopsis: Nine-hour limited event series based upon the best-selling 2011 novel written by Stephen King. 11/22/63 is a thriller in which high school history teacher Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — but his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, his falling in love and the past itself … which doesn’t want to be changed.
Premiere date: Summer 2015
Cast: Julie Klausner, Billy Eichner, Andrea Martin, James Urbaniak, Gabourey Sidibe, Cole Escola
Crew: Executive Produced by Amy Poehler and Dave Becky. Created by Julie Klausner
Synopsis: Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner star as best friends living in New York City. Their typical, irreverent behavior lands them in some very awkward situations.
Premiere date: 2015
Cast: Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins
Crew: Executive Producer / Director Jason Reitman, Writer / Creator Zander Lehmann, Producer Helen Estabrook
Synopsis: Casual follows the story of a dysfunctional family with a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating (on-line and off), while living under one roof again and raising a teenager.
Premiere date: Winter 2015
Crew: Executive Producer Jason Katims, Creator / Writer Jessica Goldberg, Producer Michelle Lee
Synopsis: The 10-episode drama series examines a family at the center of a controversial faith-based movement struggling with relationships, marriage and power. Each hour-long episode will take an in-depth look at what it means to choose between the life we live and the life we want.
RocketJump: The Show
Premiere date: Fall 2015
Cast: Freddie Wong and the RocketJump team
Crew: Created / Produced / Written by Freddie Wong and the RocketJump team
Synopsis: Each half-hour episode of the comedy series will chronicle the filmmaking behind RocketJump’s newest short. The eight full episodes will be released on Hulu on a weekly basis and the newly-created shorts will premiere on Hulu.