Hulu Confirms Skinny Bundle Launch This Year at NewFront
Hulu will soon be in the live TV business. Speaking today at the company's newfront event in New York City, CEO Mike Hopkins said that the upcoming skinny bundle will appeal to those who are already turning away from traditional pay TV options, and will let Hulu fuse the best of linear TV and on-demand content. He didn't give price or content details, although other reports say it will go for around $40 per month.
"There's going to be a lot opportunities for all of us in the future," Hopkins told the room full of advertisers. Hulu will grow to 12 million subscribers later this month, he said. He reminded attendees that his company is the only premium subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service with ads.
Through a partnership with BrightLine, Hulu will soon bring interactive ads to the television, said Peter Naylor, senior vice president of advertising. He showed a mock interface that let viewers select options from a travel ad. Interactive ads will debut this summer. Naylor said that 70 percent of Hulu viewing is now on TV screens.
Hulu will work with Nielsen to capture comprehensive living room viewing metrics on all platforms, including Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. "This is a big deal. It's a BFD," Naylor said.
Hulu announced it will work with Millward Brown to create proof-of-performance reports for TV campaigns.
The company also made plenty of content announcements during the presentation, and dazzled with star-power. Hulu is launching a documentary unit that will kick off this fall with the a Beatles documentary directed by Ron Howard. Paul McCartney and Howard appeared via video. Partnering with Live Nation, Hulu will offer concerts in virtual reality later his year. Hulu stars Hugh Laurie, Aaron Paul, Mindy Kaling, Jeffrey Donovan, Billy Eichner, Julie Klausner, and Amy Poehler took the stage, while Broad City stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer hosted. "The H in Hulu stands for happy," Poehler revealed.
Amy Poehler at the Hulu NewFront.
This year's newfront presentations marked a shift in thinking by online video publishers. They're not going to create series that win against Netflix, so they'd better focus on what works.
Hulu is no longer interested in free streaming, but Yahoo's video operations could use some focus. The two companies strike a deal for the future.
Investing in the future of streaming media and pay TV, Time Warner spends $583 million for an equity stake in Hulu in an all-cash transaction.
Looking back at this year's newfront announcements, it's clear that long-form series are best left to the SVODs, while online publishers keep things short and breezy.
Millennials are least likely to see the value of pay TV services, but a demand for bundled offerings could help the cable and satellite companies.
As the 2016 newfront season drew to a close, two newfront newcomers enticed advertisers with upcoming projects and brand support.
Even when viewers watch programs from an SVOD service, they like to know which networks created the content.
Netflix has chosen to pass on blockbuster titles already available on other services, and instead will shop for exclusives.
An ad-free option could let Hulu better compete against Netflix and Amazon Prime, but could also upset Madison Avenue.