Hulu Hopes OTT Originals Prove its Power

The past few days have been busy ones for OTT service Hulu. Slowly but surely, it has been making its mark in the world of online television, with streams increasing 79% in the last year.

At the beginning of the week, news leaked that the company was developing a streaming TV service that would offer “live programming from broadcast and cable brands” next year.

This was followed up by an announcement at its 2016 Digital NewFronts presentation that “The Mindy Project” was being renewed for a fifth season, almost a year after picking up the show from FOX for a fourth season.

Hulu was been making a strong emphasis on its premium content offerings lately, which began a few months ago with the James Franco-helmed “11.22.63,” an event series adapted from a Stephen King novel, which was inspired by the JFK assassination.

“We don’t want to convince you what good TV is,” said Ben Smith, Hulu head of experience, “or what edgy is. You love it? We love it.”

Hulu hired a new Head of Originals, Beatrice Springborn, to develop the right programming to attract viewers.

Additionally, by releasing episodes one at a time, a different experience is available compared to one large binge.

“We’ve created a sense of anticipation from week to week,” said Springborn. “You’re building anticipation, and people are questioning what’s going to happen next week.”

Bridget Carpenter, who was the showrunner for “11.22.63,” described a feeling of liberty when working with the Netflix and Amazon competitor.

“I had a lot of freedom given to me by Bad Robot and Warner Bros and Hulu,” Carpenter told the LA Times. “They all said, take as much time as you need. However long it needs to be—it can be 12 hours, it can be whatever you want.”

An anonymous Hulu executive pointed out that most Hulu viewers are watching on their physical television sets as opposed to second screen devices – “We’ve put the TV back in the TV” – but as one of the few OTT businesses that run ads, can it last when so many audiences are used to no commercials?

Later this year, Hulu is expected to roll out more original content, including documentaries, as well as two more of those dramas, “Shut Eye,” about a psychic, and “Chance” a Hugh Laurie series revolving around a forensic neuropsychiatrist.

Author: Brian Cameron

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