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Hulu announces content deals including ‘Seinfeld’

MUMBAI: Hulu has acquired the exclusive subscription video on-demand (SVOD) rights to all episodes of the sitcom ‘Seinfeld’, as well as a new, multi-year agreement with AMC that grants it the streaming rights to future programming from AMC Networks.

In addition to presenting content deals and the upcoming slate of Hulu Originals, the company took the stage to publicly unveil new business growth benchmarks – including a 50 per cent increase in subscribers – advertising innovations, and a deal with Cablevision that will be rolled over to the next year.

Since launching seven years ago, Hulu continues to grow from all sides of the business. Now the company announced that its subscriber base has grown to nearly nine million subscribers, a 50 per cent increase in subscriber base since 2014. Within the first 90 days of 2015, total streams have increased by 77 per cent 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 per cent 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 Hopkins.

Erwich was joined by comedian Jerry Seinfeld on stage at the Hulu Upfront to announce that Hulu has acquired the exclusive SVOD rights to all episodes of the series ‘Seinfeld’.

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 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 Erwich.

Hulu has also announced a multi-year deal with AMC Networks 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 collection of AMC Networks 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.

AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll said, “We believe in the combination of compelling content and technology to engage audiences and deliver viewers back to the linear television experience. 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. 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” said Hopkins,

Advertising innovations

Custom-Integrated-Commercials: Hulu has announced a new ad solution for marketers called the custom integrated commercial. With custom integrated commercials, Hulu will create custom :30 second spots that strategically integrate the values of a marketer’s brand with the values of the Hulu brand. These custom spots will convey a shared brand story that resonates with Hulu viewers.

Programmatic: Over the next few years, Hulu will roll out Programmatic Ad Buying, a new service that will combine Hulu’s data with that of a brand’s in order to provide even more effective targeting solutions. Programmatic advertising capabilities on Hulu will utilise media automation and data to build advertisements into the most effective series, episodes and time slots. This will allow Hulu to target the right ad to the right user at the right time.

Distribution: In its first-ever deal with a cable or satellite provider, 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 catalogue 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.

Hulu senior VP, head of distribution Tim Connolly said, “At Hulu we believe users should have the ability to consume their favorite content, when, where and how they want. 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.”

Cablevision COO Kristin Dolan said, “The partnership with Hulu reflects Cablevision’s desire to meet customers where they are. 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

  • ‘11/22/63’
  • 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.‘Difficult People’
  • 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.
    ‘Casual’
  • 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.
    ‘ The Way’
  • Premiere date: Winter 2015
  • Cast: TBD
  • 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: Later in The Year
  • 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.