The Hulu Future, company details live TV, renewals and films
At the Hulu Upfront Presentation at Madison Square Garden Theater this morning, the video-streaming service had quite a few announcements to share with the press.
The service has seen its subscriber base grow over 30% year over year, that base is expected to hit 12 million subscribers in the U.S. by the end of this month month. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins, SVP of Advertising Sales Peter Naylor, Chief Marketing Officer Jenny Wall and SVP, Head of Content, Craig Erwich also unveiled new content deals and advertising partnerships with Nielsen and Millward Brown that will deliver “more efficient, first-to-market measurement tools for advertisers and marketers.”
“Over the past year, we’ve propelled Hulu by adding an extraordinary array of original series, hit broadcast and cable shows and blockbuster movies to our content portfolio — all of which has led to incredible growth in subscribers and engagement,” said Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins. “In 2016, we’re going even bigger and bolder. We’ll expand our offering with more premium content and brand new ad measurement products that will continue to make Hulu the leader in choice for seamless entertainment and advertising experiences.”
Hulu will launch Hulu Documentary Films, starting with “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week” from famed director Ron Howard. The documentary will feature rare and exclusive footage, and was produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.
White Horse Pictures’ Grammy Award-winning Nigel Sinclair, Scott Pascucci and Academy Award-winner and multiple nominee Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment are producing with Howard. Apple Corps Ltd’s Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde are serving as executive producers, along with Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East and Nicholas Ferrall.
Award-winning Editor Paul Crowder is the editor. Crowder’s long-time collaborator, Mark Monroe, is serving as writer. Marc Ambrose is a supervising producer.
The film is set to hit theaters (and now Hulu) later this fall, The Beatles: Eight Days A Week is based on the first part of The Beatles’ career (1962-1966) — the period in which they toured and captured the world’s acclaim.
Ron Howard’s film will explore how John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr came together to become this extraordinary phenomenon, “The Beatles.” It will explore their inner workings — how they made decisions, created their music and built their collective career together — all the while, exploring The Beatles’ extraordinary and unique musical gifts and their remarkable, complementary personalities. The film will focus on the time period from the early Beatles’ journey in the days of The Cavern Club in Liverpool to their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966.
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week marks the first documentary feature to premiere exclusively on Hulu following its theatrical run and comes to Hulu in the company’s first-ever licensing deal with Apple Corps Ltd. The film will be the first to launch under the new Hulu Documentary Films arm, which will serve as a new home for premium original and exclusive documentary film titles coming to Hulu.
In content news, Hulu also announced that the company has picked up critically acclaimed drama series The Path for a second season, as well as comedy series The Mindy Project for season five.
Since its premiere on Hulu in March, The Path has drawn acclaim from critics and fans. Stars Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan and Hugh Dancy took to the stage at Hulu’s Upfront presentation today to reveal that Hulu has officially greenlit the series for a second season order.
The Path comes to Hulu from Universal Television and Jason Katims’ True Jack Productions. The show was created by Jessica Goldberg, who also wrote and executive-produced the series, along with Katims and Michelle Lee of True Jack Productions. The series follows a family at the center of a controversial cult as they struggle with relationships, faith and power. The finale episode of season one will air May 25th and all past episodes are available to stream on Hulu.
After ordering season four of The Mindy Project, the comedy series from best-selling Author and Creator Mindy Kaling has continued to garner acclaim and captivate fans on Hulu. Today, Hulu SVP and Head of Content Craig Erwich, alongside Mindy Kaling, announced that Hulu has officially picked up the series for a fifth season.
The Mindy Project is a single-camera comedy series created by and starring Emmy®-nominated writer/producer and New York Times best-selling author Mindy Kaling that follows a skilled OB/GYN navigating choppy waters of both her personal and professional life. The series also stars Chris Messina, Ed Weeks, Ike Barinholtz, Beth Grant, Xosha Roquemore and Fortune Feimster. From 3 Arts Entertainment in association with Universal Television, The Mindy Project is executive produced by Kaling, Howard Klein, Matt Warburton, Charlie Grandy and Michael Spiller.
In addition, Hulu announced a second election special from Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog that will debut exclusively on the service later this year. Following the success of Triumph’s Election Special 2016, Robert Smigel will return as the voice and creator of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog for a brand new special that will be premiere just in time for the election.
Hulu’s original programming slate will also include the drama series Shut Eye, Chance and The Handmaid’s Tale. The service will also start offering the new AMC series “Preacher” later this year. The company also stated that they have partnered with “25 content partners” that will create immersive VR experiences in the future. Fans of “Casual” and “Difficult People” should be happy to know that those shows will be returning as well this summer.
Hulu will also offer limited live TV options. “This means our viewers will be able to enjoy live sports, news and events…in real time without a traditional cable or satellite subscription,” Mr. Hopkins said. No details were given at this time, but early reports indicate that the service will resemble SlingTV or Playstation Vue, offering limited live-cable events from participating networks. More on the Live TV offerings will be announced at a later date.
Outside of the content world and into the marketing structure of the company, Hulu has partnered with BrightLine. The company will be the first streaming service to deliver first-to-market interactive advertising units built exclusively for the living room. The announcement was made today by Hulu’s SVP of Advertising Sales, Peter Naylor.
Together, Hulu and BrightLine will offer a highly-engaging and convenient advertising experience that is built exclusively for connected TVs. Havas Media, a leader in global marketing, will be the exclusive charter agency for the new product. The new interactive ad units will launch on Hulu this summer.
“Hulu offers brands the most effective way to reach the streaming audience, at scale, in the living room,” said Hulu SVP of Advertising Sales, Peter Naylor. “The partnerships we’ve announced today with Nielsen, Millward Brown and BrightLine point to the future of television and everything that’s possible in a connected TV environment — and we are happy to be leading the way in both creativity and measurement.”
Hulu also revealed a new collaboration with Nielsen that will enable digital ad measurement through Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings to capture OTT viewing in the living room environment for the first time ever.
This will be the first comprehensive ad measurement solution to debut across living room platforms from Roku and PlayStation to Xbox and Apple TV and all Hulu-enabled living room devices. This could be considered great news for cord-cutters, allowing more data to be extrapolated for advertisers is a surefire way to bring in more content for internet-streaming. Through the collaboration, Hulu will have the capability to deliver the accurate measurement of viewership beyond the PC for advertisers on a campaign level basis.
In addition, Hulu announced it will begin to provide increased advertising effectiveness insights and tools through a new partnership with multinational market research firm, Millward Brown. The partnership will deliver studies, research papers and stats including brand affinity metrics for marketers and advertisers that will span across over-the-top viewing environments. Magna Global, the strategic global investment and intelligence unit of IPG Mediabrands, with clients including Arby’s, Aveeno, BMW, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, FCA US LLC and IHOP, will be beta partners at launch in this groundbreaking initiative for Hulu.