The changes might not surprise those who closely follow the streaming video deals that seem to hit every day, but it’s illuminating to see a statistical measure of the shift in the top providers’ content libraries. That’s what Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson served up this week in a look at how Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, and Redbox Instant compare in their offerings of top 50 movies available for streaming over the past three years and top 75 TV shows available from the past four years.
Amazon “caught up significantly” to Netflix in TV, Olson says — though both trail Hulu, which is owned by the major broadcast networks. Hulu Plus had 51% of the available hit TV shows in June, up from 44% a year ago. Yet while Netflix had 32%, down 1 percentage point, Amazon increased from 7% to 12%. (Redbox had zero both years.)
The story’s different for movies. Netflix had 12% of the available hits this year, down from 14%. But Amazon dropped from 12% to 6%. Redbox Instant also lost ground, falling to 7% from 10%. Hulu just had 1%, up from zero. Read More »
Under the exclusive deal with Shine International, all episodes of the first season of FX‘s The Bridge will be available on Hulu Plus beginning today. Limited promotional episodes also will be available on Hulu.com. Starring Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger, the present-day crime thriller explores tensions on the US-Mexico border. Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish and Thomas M. Wright co-star. The Bridge is a co-production of Shine America and FX Prods. It was adapted for American television from the international hit series Bron/Broen by executive producers Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid. Shine America’s Carolyn G. Bernstein and Filmlance’s Lars Blomgren also exec produce. Season two of The Bridge premieres on FX July 9.
“Our goal is to continue to lead the online video advertising market,” CEO Mike Hopkins says in a blog post — echoing the message he delivered this morning at Hulu‘s Newfront presentation in NYC. The TV network backed streaming service says that its Hulu Plus subscription service has more than 6M subscribers — nice growth albeit still far behind Netflix‘s 35.7M domestic online customers. But Hulu’s forte is ad sales and the company offered some impressive stats to buyers: Desktop viewers spend about 50 minutes per session with Hulu, longer than any rival ad-supported premium video site in comScore’s top 100. It also will offer three new ad “experiences,” Hopkins says: It will enable users to make purchases without leaving Hulu; Pizza Hut is the launch partner. The service will offer cross-platform interactive ads with an algorithm that “predicts the appropriate audience for the brand.” And it’s introducing the Hulu 360 Ad that can tailor messages depending on where the viewer is accessing the programming. “We know which device a viewer is on, and we go beyond the traditional video ad to serve a groundbreaking viewing experience,” Hopkins says. On the programming front, Hulu announced that it’s ordering a second season of Deadbeat.
The exclusive licensing deal announced today makes Hulu Plus the exclusive destination for all previous seasons of Universal TV’s The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, with Bravo series like The Real Housewives and Top Chef franchises and E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians also available exclusively in the coming weeks — and Parks And Recreation coming non-exclusively. The multi-year SVOD rights deal follows similar Hulu pacts inked in February — one an extension with CBS for 2,600 new episodes of shows including Undercover Boss, United States Of Tara, Everybody Loves Raymond, Ghost Whisperer and library fare like The Brady Bunch and Laverne & Shirley; and another with Disney/ABC Television group that netted SVOD rights to Nashville. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced the deal via a blog post today.
The 2,600 new episodes going to the streaming service in the non-exclusive arrangement will include Undercover Boss, United States Of Tara, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Ghost Whisperer, the companies just announced. Also in the package are hits from the CBS vaults including Taxi, The Brady Bunch, Laverne & Shirley, Melrose Place, and 7th Heaven. CBS and Hulu didn’t disclose terms for the multi-year licensing agreement, an expansion of their 2012 deal, which brings Hulu’s collection of CBS shows to more than 5,300 episodes. Shows will hit the subscription-based Hulu Plus “in the coming weeks,” the companies say, and some will appear on the free Hulu.com. “CBS programming on Hulu Plus has performed exceptionally well,” says the network’s Chief Corporate Content Licensing Officer Scott Koondel. Last week the companies said that the streaming service would have exclusive subscription video on demand rights for previous seasons of the crime drama Elementary as well as a deal for previous seasons of Blue Bloods.
Disney/ABC Television Group has inked an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement with Hulu Plus for SVOD rights to the drama series. Beginning now, all past Nashville episodes and clips are available on the subscription service. Currently in its second season, Nashville, produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment, stars Connie Britton as music legend Rayna Jaymes and Hayden Panettiere as sassy up-and-comer Juliette Barnes. Cast also features Charles Esten, Eric Close, Clare Bowen, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack, Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella. Dee Johnson, R.J. Cutler, Callie Khouri and Steve Buchanan executive produce.
CBS has signed a non-exclusive content licensing agreement with Hulu Plus for Blue Bloods, the CBS TV Studios drama that earlier this week landed off-net deals with ION and WGN America. The news of an SVOD partner is the final piece of the multi-platform syndication pie for the Friday cop procedural, now in its fourth season; it’s the same model used to recently sell another CBS TV Distribution product, CBS’ Elementary. Hulu will begin offering the first four seasons of Blue Bloods beginning later this year. Read More »
Hulu Plus has acquired subscription video on demand rights for CBS’ Elementary. This is an SVOD component of the exclusive off-network rights deal announced last week by WGN America for the drama series. Under the deal, Hulu Plus has the rights to offer complete past seasons of episodes of Elementary to its subscribers after each season has been broadcast on the CBS Television Network. Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller star in the modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes. Creator Rob Doherty, Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman and Craig Sweeny executive produce for CBS TV Studios.
2ND UPDATE 2:16 PM: The NPD Group today issued a “data clarification” about its Monday press release that said its study found that streaming services are gaining while premium cable channels are losing subscribers. A day after Showtime refuted those findings, NPD Group said it should not have called our declines for HBO and Showtime.”Upon further examination of the results,” the group said in the release, “there is data supporting the conclusion that individual subscribers are either subscribing to more channels, or adding channels over time.” Here’s the full statement: “A recent press announcement from The NPD Group that was released on Monday, January 20, 2014 (‘Cord Shaving? SVOD Subscribers Increase, as Premium TV Subscribers Decline, According to The NPD Group’) should not have called out declines in subscribers for specific premium TV channels, HBO and Showtime. The data used for the press release pertains to aggregate results for all premium TV channels and does indicate that the overall number of subscribers has declined, based on a representative sample of the U.S. population. However, upon further examination of the results, there is data supporting the conclusion that individual subscribers are either subscribing to more channels, or adding channels over time. In that case, faithful premium channel subscribers are becoming more so – which would be consistent with the subscription increases being reported by individual channels.”
UPDATED 3:14 PM Tuesday: Not so fast, Showtime says. The premium channel issued a release today saying the “NPD Group ‘study’ does not accurately reflect actual subscriber counts.” Showtime says that not only has it added 1M subs in six of the past seven years, but premium rivals HBO, Cinemax and Starz also have increased subs during that period. Here’s the full statement: “Contrary to erroneous reports published this week, Showtime and every other premium network have increased both subscribers and penetrations over the last two years. A study released by the NPD Group claimed the opposite, comparing gains made by video services like Netflix to the performance of premium cable. The study does not accurately reflect actual subscriber counts. According to SNL Kagan, from March 2012 through September 2013 – the timeframe the NPD Group allegedly measured — Showtime penetration grew from 21.1 percent to 22.8 percent; HBO penetration rose from 28.2 percent to 29.2 percent; Cinemax penetration climbed from 11.2 percent to 13.6 percent and Starz penetration jumped from 19.9 percent to 22 percent. While it is true that video services like Netflix have gained, so too have premium cable channels.” Read More »
Hulu‘s not a public company, so it can disclose just the financial information it wants. And of course the numbers CEO Mike Hopkins just revealed in a blog post look pretty good — suggesting that Hulu’s making progress after owners Disney, Fox and Comcast in July scrapped a plan to sell the service. He says that Hulu Plus has more than 5M subscribers, up from a little more than 3M last year, with more than half streaming in the living room. Hopkins also talks up his content offerings, saying that they include “premium programming from more than 488 content partners, providing over 86,000 TV episodes, 2,900 TV series, and 68,000 hours of video on Hulu and Hulu Plus (and growing).” Viewers streamed more than 1B content videos in each quarter, with each session averaging 50 minutes in Q4. As a result, “Hulu remained #1 in engagement among top ad supported online video sites, and #1 in market share of all premium online video providers, maintaining our commitment to building the world’s most effective video advertising service and delivering industry-leading results for our advertising partners.” The service has more than 1,000 brands advertising, up 15% vs last year. The employee base also is up 20% to 725, with 140 new hires in the second half of this year. ”As we scale the business in 2014, we will continue to invest in content, technology and people.” For what it’s worth, Netflix is … Read More »
TV shows accounted for 80% of the streams for subscription video on demand (SVOD) services in Q1, The NPD Group reports this morning — and the number of people who watched TV online was up 34% vs the period last year. But although the research group notes that Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus are gaining market share, the folks at Netflix shouldn’t be worried. The company accounted for about 89% of the TV streams, while Hulu Plus had 10% followed by Amazon Prime’s 2%. “There’s no doubt that Netflix is driving the growth in SVOD, particularly with increased attention to television programming,” says SVP of Industry Analysis Russ Crupnick. Consumers are starting to consider the alternatives. The ranks of Netflix-only SVOD subscribers dropped to 67% from 76%. Another 10% used Netflix and Amazon Prime while 8% used Netflix and Hulu. Although Netflix has had a “virtual monopoly on the SVOD market,” Crupnick says, “we are beginning to see increasing trial” of Hulu and Amazon. The data comes from a survey of 46,403 SVOD subscribers and was weighted to reflect U.S. Internet users over age 13.
Related: Viacom Agrees To Multi-Year Streaming Deal With Amazon
Hulu said today during its upfront presentation in New York that it set a revenue record in the first quarter of this year with $695M, and that Hulu Plus subscriptions passed 4 million subscribers after doubling in 2012. The service now has almost 2500 TV series and about 57,000 hours of content. Among the talent on hand was Seth Meyers and Michael Shoemaker to promote their animated superhero series The Awesomes, one of four original series that will debut this year. Among Hulu’s four announced exclusive series is the Eva Longoria-starring animated series Mother Up!, about a disgraced former music exec who must transition to a life of suburban motherhood. Other talent working up shows are Mario Batali, Carson Daly and Jay Mohr, who is toplining the new game show Money Where Your Mouth Is. Hulu also is streaming Prospect Park’s revamped soap operas All My Children and One Life To Live, which launched yesterday and were the two most-watched TV episodes of the day. Here is Hulu’s descriptions of its new series: Read More »
This could be a significant change for Apple: So far it has only made iTunes and Netflix available to Apple TV users who wanted to order movies and TV shows. Strangely, the companies aren’t saying much about the decision. There’s no press release with grandiose statements from execs — just this mention on the Hulu blog with instructions for Apple TV users who want to access the $7.99 a month service. But Apple’s desire to limit consumers’ choices seemed to put Apple TV at a competitive disadvantage to rivals including game consoles (such as Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PS3) and Roku boxes that provide gateways to other video services including Amazon Prime. Hulu Plus streams a variety of TV shows including current and old series from ABC, NBC, FOX, The CW and Univision.
Hulu may be small, but like a healthy kid it’s growing fast. Overall business for the online streaming service grew 60% last year over 2010, CEO Jason Kilar noted today on the Hulu blog. Revenue climbed to about $420 million. Hulu’s content offering grew roughly 40%. Hulu Plus content more than doubled last year and it has more than 1.5 million paying subscribers. That number is growing — Hulu Plus is attracting more than twice as many subscribers daily versus the same time last year. Kilar reiterated that the company expects subscription services to account for more than half of Hulu’s overall business in 2012. Hulu projected investing half a billion dollars in content for 2012. Kilar suggested that the Hulu Plus business model enables the company to compensate content owners as much as 50% more per subscriber than other online subscription services. Hulu Plus is also available on a slew of devices including iPhone, iPad, Microsoft Xbox 360, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble’s NOOK Tablet, select Android smartphones, LG, Panasonic and VIZIO TVs and Blu-ray players. The free Hulu can be viewed only via computers. Hulu is jointly owned by NBCUniversal, News Corp., The Walt Disney Co., Providence Equity Partners and members of the Hulu team.
So far, only the five most recent episodes of the Sony TV-produced Community were available on the NBCUniversal-backed Hulu streaming service. Starting today, all three seasons of the quirky new comedy will be available on the subscription-based Hulu Plus. The move comes just as NBC grounded Community for midseason (the series is expected to return in late spring), so fans of the show will be able to catch up with old episodes during the hiatus.
I’m told that Sony is indeed sounding out cable programmers including Discovery, NBCUniversal, and News Corp to see whether they’re willing to cut deals to have their shows streamed to Sony devices such as PlayStations and Blu-ray players. The Japanese tech and entertainment giant is thinking about a model that would resemble Amazon’s with its new Kindle Fire tablet: It might cut the price of the devices, and count on subscription payments to make up the lost revenues. But nothing is imminent. And the feeling is that The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news about Sony’s plans this morning, pushed too hard on the possibility that the tech and entertainment giant might end up with a full-fledged rival to cable TV. Sony has raised the idea with programmers of offering channels live, just as they’d appear on cable. Insiders tell me, though, that there’s only a remote possibility that Sony will make much headway with that idea — except perhaps with minor networks that have few carriage deals. They consider it significant that Sony is telling programmers that it is open to creating a more conventional subscription VOD service like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu Plus. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung have also been sniffing around to see what programming they can offer via the Internet, and on what terms. Meanwhile, pay TV companies are working on TV Everywhere deals so they can stream shows to subscribers’ digital devices. Read More »
UPDATE, 12: 00 PM: No word from Starz execs about when they might announce a digital streaming deal to replace the one with Netflix, which expires in February. “There are a lot of conversations going on,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told analysts today. “It’s a road that needs to be evaluated almost on a weekly basis.” The company hopes to license programs from its premium channel to a premium-priced streaming service – meaning, one that charges more than Netflix. As more companies enter the online video market “they’ll begin to segment and differentiate,” says Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei. “That’s something we would embrace.” Albrecht said that “we didn’t believe it was appropriate to have our products included in a low-cost service.” Do they really expect lots of consumers to pay high prices in this weak economy — especially with the anemic numbers cable and satellite companies are posting for premium channels? At Starz the 3Q sub figure was Read More »
The agreement comes two weeks after CW cut a similar deal with Netflix. This one will provide CW programming both to the free Hulu service as well as the subscription Hulu Plus. It means that by year end, Hulu will have current-season episodes of shows from ABC, CW, Fox, NBC and Univision. Hulu SVP Andy Forssell says in a blog post that Hulu Plus will be “the only online subscription service to offer next-day access to the most recent five current primetime episodes, in HD” via broadband. Users of the free service “will be able to watch five episodes of current season programming eight days after airing.”
Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker says that the Hulu deal will generate a lot less cash for CBS — which co-owns CW with Time Warner — than it will see from Netflix. She estimates the new agreement will deliver about a penny a share annually which she says “is not financially material.” (She said CBS might see as much as 5 cents a share from Netflix.) Hulu will have fewer shows, and only five episodes at a time; Netflix has exclusive access to full seasons of shows that aren’t in season. Still, she adds, “this is another way that CW can approach breakeven and ultimately reach profitability.”
Here’s the release:
(October 28, 2011) –The CW Television Network, a joint venture of CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment, announced today a five-year licensing agreement with Hulu for the rights to stream in-season episodes of The CW’s programming on the Hulu Plus subscription service and the free, ad-supported Hulu service.
With this agreement, Hulu Plus will be the only online subscription service to carry in-season episodes of The CW’s drama and reality series, with the five most recent episodes of each show available to subscribers the next day after broadcast. Users of the free, ad-supported Hulu service will be able to watch five episodes of current season programming eight days after airing on The CW.
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No word about Hulu’s effort to find a buyer. But CEO Jason Kilar offers a strong sales pitch for the company in a status report he posted online today. He says the company owned by Disney, News Corp and Comcast’s NBCUniversal is “on pace to approach half a billion in 2011 revenue.” With 875,000 customers in June paying $7.99 a month to watch streamed movies and TV shows on Hulu Plus, “we anticipate exceeding 1 million paying subscribers before the end of this summer” — a target the company originally expected to hit at year’s end. Kilar says that when ad sales are thrown in, “we proudly and profitably pay the content community approximately $8 per subscriber per month for the content offering you see today on Hulu Plus.” The CEO adds that it is able to “thrive on low margins and the unusually effective Hulu advertising service we’ve built and will continue to innovate.” About 25 million DVRs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other devices can receive streamed videos from Hulu Plus, but Kilar says that will “grow aggressively over the balance of 2011.” Read More »