Hulu LLC has long been the underdog when it comes to streaming content services.
The service has focused its efforts primarily on television episodes and gimmicks like free streaming from Android devices, but its content library has been lacking. Times may be changing for Hulu, though.
A new age for Hulu? Having recently acquired the licensing rights to Fox’s popular series “Empire,” after Netflix’s bid fell short, Hulu looks to be entering a golden age of its own. Netflix argued that because Fox was allowing full seasons of the program to be available to viewers via cable video on demand, it should be paying a significantly reduced fee for the streaming rights. This was a surprising move, considering Netflix’s size and influence.
Hulu’s approach to television rights. As more people transition from cable to streaming services, it would make sense that television studios would want to license their products separately across mediums. Although Netflix doesn’t seem to agree, Hulu is more than happy to accommodate this arrangement — and because of their flexibility, Hulu’s subscriber base has already grown from six million viewers last year to nine million this year.
Hulu has seen an incredible influx of cash this year, both from investors and an increasing number of subscribers, which has allowed it to become much more profitable at breakneck speed. In 2013, the last year it released its financials, Hulu revenues were about $1 billion, but this year it’s projected to bring in over $1.5 billion. Growth is almost a given considering the flexibility Hulu is willing to allow its content partners.
A comprehensive revenue model. Along with allowing episode stacking with companies like 21st Century Fox and its monthly subscription services, Hulu’s revenue model includes paid advertising, just like traditional television channels. By partnering with television stations and promoting individual network branding, Hulu hopes to build its own brand even bigger. Programmers like AMC are already beginning the move from Netflix to Hulu for its significantly more network-friendly approach.
Hulu may not catch the $5.5 billion dollar streaming giant Netflix this year, but because of its more familiar format and appeal to television networks across the spectrum, it’s a company to watch. This year’s expansion is just the beginning if Hulu’s executives are right — and the opportunities for marketing professionals to get their products in front of customers through this channel will be enormous.