When it comes to streaming TV and movies, in the United States and elsewhere, Netflix is the undisputed king. The on-demand video service has 52.8 million subscribers in the U.S. alone and over 100 million worldwide; Hulu trails far, far behind at 17 million in the U.S. However, while the former has been dominant, the latter is now making its push. According to The New York Times, Hulu is now making moves to compete with Netflix (and Amazon, and Apple) in the battle for digital video supremacy.
Hulu made a major breakthrough in September, when it landed eight Emmy Awards for its critically acclaimed drama “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and the momentum has only continued since then. The budding TV network has since greenlit “The Looming Tower” and “Castle Rock,” two highly anticipated shows, as well as ink new deals to produce new content with big names like Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Sean Penn, “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon and “Get Out” producer Jason Blum.
“Beginning last year, we said this was a time for Hulu to really grow up and be aggressive and be much more offensive in its approach, rather than being defensive,” Hulu chief executive Randy Freer told the Times.
This new competitive effort comes at an uncertain time for Hulu financially. BTIG, a global financial services firm, told the Times that Hulu lost a whopping $920 million in 2017, and it’s expected to lose another $1.67 billion in 2018. It’s not clear who’s being held responsible for leading the company out of this fiscal rut. Hulu is shared by four owners: Disney (which owns 30 percent of the business), Fox (30 percent), Comcast (30 percent) and Time Warner (10 percent).
Adding to the confusion is the fact that Disney is simultaneously developing two other streaming services of its own. Nevertheless, the corporation insists that Hulu’s advancement remains a key priority.
“We’re very much in support of growing Hulu,” Disney chief strategy officer Kevin Mayer said. “It takes an investment, for sure. We’re happy to undertake that investment for the outcome, which we know is going to happen. It’s going to be a big, profitable service.”
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