Everyone on the Hulu team shares three things in common. I’ll cover two of those immediately. We’ll get to the last one at the end of this post.
First, we are proud to say that we love TV shows. TV shows entertain billions of people across the globe and are among the most durable, high quality forms of storytelling in our society. TV shows play a significant role in billions of people’s daily routines.
Second, we believe that the TV show experience — while already great — has the opportunity to be even better. We have great conviction that consumers should be able to watch the TV shows they’d like to watch, whenever they want to watch them, wherever they want to watch them. The Hulu team has taken that conviction and built a very special service we’re calling Hulu Plus. The Hulu Plus service is our answer to the question of “What if your favorite TV shows loved you back?”
Hulu Plus is not a replacement for Hulu.com. Hulu Plus is a new, revolutionary ad-supported subscription product that is incremental and complementary to the existing Hulu service. For almost all of the current broadcast shows on our service, Hulu Plus offers the full season. Every single episode of the current season will be available, not just a handful of trailing episodes. Now there’s never a bad time to jump in on a hot new show like Modern Family (which I recommend highly). From Family Guy to Glee, from The Office to 30 Rock, from Grey’s Anatomy to Desperate Housewives, from Parks & Recreation to Parenthood, from House to Saturday Night Live, and dozens of other hits, the best time to jump in on any series is any time, and with any episode, that’s right for you.
As a Hulu Plus subscriber, you’ll now also have access to back seasons or full runs of some of TV’s greatest shows. All nine seasons of The X-Files. All three seasons of Arrested Development. Ten seasons of Law and Order: SVU. All five seasons of Ally McBeal. Seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and three seasons of Roswell. Every episode ever of Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. Classic skits from the first five and most recent five seasons of Saturday Night Live. The list goes on. This is all on top of hundreds of shows already on Hulu.com today. It’s a treasure chest in the cloud for TV lovers.
How can someone watch all these TV shows? The only possible way is if someone could pull up these shows wherever they were, on whatever device they happened to have available. That’s why we’re excited to announce that Hulu Plus subscribers can now watch their favorites through more than just the browser on their Mac or PC.
Let’s start in your living room. You’re sitting down for dinner, and you’d like to pull Hulu up on your TV. Today you’d have to plug a computer into the TV and try to connect the audio from your computer to your sound system. It’s certainly doable, but it’s not as easy as it could be. Starting today, Hulu Plus subscribers who own select Samsung Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players can download a Hulu Plus application from the Samsung app store and start streaming Hulu Plus directly.
Now let’s say you migrate from the living room to your den or bedroom or patio where you don’t have a TV. You can always pull up Hulu Plus on your laptop, but starting today you can access Hulu content via Wi-Fi or 3G on another device: the Apple iPad. I’ve been watching Hulu on my iPad for several weeks now, and I’ve watched more TV through the iPad than any other device.
Now let’s head out of the house and onto the road. Wouldn’t it be nice if, while you were waiting for your coffee order at the local cafe, you could finish watching that episode you started watching that morning on your iPad? Starting today, if you’re a Hulu Plus subscriber and you own an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 or third-generation iPod Touch, you can.
The Hulu Plus app on the iPhone streams over 3G and Wi-Fi. It’s TV shows in the palm of your hand. A spare five minutes will never be as boring again. You can start watching a show on your HDTV one night, pick up where you left off on your laptop at lunch, watch another chunk on the bus ride home on your iPhone, and finish watching in bed on your iPad. The time to watch your favorite shows is any time you want.
These are the devices shipping with Hulu Plus today. But this is just the first step in our mission to bring you TV wherever you are. We are already hard at work on porting Hulu Plus to other devices and platforms, with PlayStation 3 coming soon. But that’s a story for another day.
More content. More devices. But that’s not all. We want to take full advantage of beautiful display devices like your HDTV connected to your Samsung Blu-ray player, or your iPad. So for all Hulu Plus subscribers, we’ll now stream all native HD content in 720p high definition.
The last question, and an obvious one, is how much this costs. We wanted Hulu Plus to be priced for as many people as possible. We’re thrilled to be able to bring all of this to you for the price of just $9.99 a month.
How do you sign up for Hulu Plus? Starting today, we’re issuing invitations to become a Hulu Plus subscriber. If you’re interested, you can request an invitation here. To ensure we’re offering the best experience for all our Hulu Plus customers, we’ll be sending out invitations in waves [hint: if you follow Hulu on Twitter ( www.twitter.com/hulu) or “Like” Hulu on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/hulu), we’ll be handing out invites to a random set from each of those groups from time to time over the coming months]. We’ll be sending out as many invitations as we can each week, and as soon as we’re ready, we’ll remove the need for an invitation and start bringing in new subscribers without delay.
At the start, I mentioned I’d come back to the third thing that all of us at Hulu have in common. That third thing is this: we believe that any lasting solution to the challenge of making TV show discovery and viewing dramatically easier has to work for all three of our customers, and those are our end users, our advertisers, and our content suppliers.
With Hulu Plus, we believe we’ve met that goal. For our end users, we’re offering them the most convenient way to access their favorite shows, on devices they love, in high definition, at a fair price. For our advertisers, who allow us to keep our Hulu Plus price low with the support of ad revenue, we offer one of the world’s most effective advertising platforms, with the ability to speak effectively to users across a variety of devices, anywhere they happen to be. And finally, for our content partners, we offer revenues that compensate them fairly for bearing the cost of producing the shows we love.
Is our work done? Not even close. There are more shows to license, more countries to expand into, and more product features to build. And we will.
But for today, we just want to share our latest project with you. We think it’s pretty great. We hope you do, too.