Hulu “Kicking Back Into Action” Says CEO, Adds New Content

Hulu‘s had a pretty quiet summer, seemingly sidelined while rivals like Netflix continue to announce original content to heavy fanfare and results. In July, the fate of the company was even uncertain, as its owners debated selling the site off entirely. Acting Chief Executive Andy Forssell, however, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, says Hulu is “kicking back into action,” starting with the addition of new BBC shows and a plan to grow original content by 10-15% in coming years.

Whether or not these moves come too late remains to be seen. The immediate news is that Hulu has struck an agreement with the BBC to bring shows such as “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood,” “Sherlock,” and “MI-5″ into its catalog. However, the deal isn’t an exclusive one, meaning the same shows will continue to be available on Netflix and Amazon Instant, making the content deal more of a catch-up effort than a feature. In addition, most of the episodes will be available only to Hulu Plus subscribers, rather than on the free-ad supported site.

Hulu has struggled recently against rivals Netflix and Amazon. Although it announced in April that it had passed 4 million paying subscribers, the vast majority of its user are still not paying. Netflix in comparison has around 30 million US customers, and 8 million international ones, all of whom are paying.

Can Hulu turn around and compete with Netflix? Did Hulu make a mistake with its business model in originally being entirely free?

About 

Born in Alaska, Cameron is now a resident of Nashville, TN. He graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South with a degree in English and Political Science. He enjoys following emerging technology and its impact on business. Follow Cameron on Google+, or email him with any questions or comments.


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Comments

  1. Kyle Turco

    Seems like Hulu ought to use some of the same big data analysis that Netflix has been having success with - http://technologyadvice.com/wp-content/themes/newta/how-netflix-is-using-big-data-to-get-people-hooked-on-its-original-programming.html#.Ujr2csashcZ

  2. MingusInCincy

    I have tried subscribing twice to Hulu, but easily two thirds of the shows I wanted to watch aren’t available off the PC. If I am tied to the PC AND I am paying for content AND I am forced to watch ads (the same ads, all the time), it isn’t worth my time. There isn’t anything significant available (for me) that I can’t find on one of the other providers. 
    The other little bit is that they don’t have a desktop player anymore. I don’t want to tie up my browser to watch your content if I am forced to watch it on my PC. 
    amiright?

  3. Cameron Graham

    MingusInCincy Hulu Desktop was great. I’m still sad they killed it, and introduced such a limited model pricing scheme. 
    I do think a big part of their problem is that people (including myself) perceive them as a free-service first, and a paid option second. That, and they’ve failed to secure exclusive content or promote their own original content (I know they have two shows, but they’ve done a terrible job getting anyone to watch).

  4. onecutemoose

    the big thing that caught my eye here is that it is implicated that hulu plus is ad free—such a lie, and I’m not going to pay to see ads when I have more than enough (and better) content on a cheaper service with no ads

  5. Kyle Turco

    Seems like Hulu ought to use some of the same big data analysis that Netflix has been having success with - http://technologyadvice.com/wp-content/themes/newta/how-netflix-is-using-big-data-to-get-people-hooked-on-its-original-programming.html#.Ujr2csashcZ

  6. Cameron Graham

    I do think a big part of their problem is that people (including myself) perceive them as a free-service first, and a paid option second. That, and they’ve failed to secure exclusive content or promote their own original content (I know they have two shows, but they’ve done a terrible job getting anyone to watch).

  7. onecutemoose

    the big thing that caught my eye here is that it is implicated that hulu plus is ad free—such a lie, and I’m not going to pay to see ads when I have more than enough (and better) content on a cheaper service with no ads