At Hulu, my team and I spend a lot of time watching TV shows and debating what makes a show great. Attracting 15 million viewers certainly makes a show a candidate for being great, but it’s not sufficient, nor frankly even necessary. A far more important indicator of greatness is that the show has a certain something that makes viewers care, and care deeply . . . for the plot, for the characters, for the chance to urge their friends to watch the show and the chance to talk about it together afterward. Great TV is TV that is discussed as “insightful” or “touching” or “funny” or “shocking,” to be admired by critics, celebrated by pop culture writers, and to be watched over and over again by passionate fans.
Even though I’m admittedly not the target demographic for The CW — a network that targets young women ages 18-34 — that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize and appreciate great content when I see it. And The CW is home to some of the most engaging and clever shows on TV today. The CW’s serialized dramas and reality series are precisely the kind of shows we aggressively pursue for our service – the kind of shows that attract a young, engaged, and savvy fan base . . . and that make that fan base care deeply.
This is why the Hulu team is so excited about our new five-year licensing agreement with The CW to bring current season programming to the Hulu Plus subscription service and the free, ad-supported Hulu service.
When shows from The CW arrive on our service later this year, Hulu Plus will be the only online subscription service to offer next-day access to the most recent five current primetime episodes, in HD, on internet connected mobile phones, tablets, gaming consoles, blu-ray players and set-top boxes, while users of the free Hulu service will be able to watch five episodes of current season programming eight days after airing.
Programming on Hulu and Hulu Plus will begin with the nine series on The CW’s Fall 2011 schedule, including new series “Ringer,” “Hart of Dixie” and “The Secret Circle,” as well as returning hits “The Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl,” “Supernatural,” “Nikita,” “90210” and “America’s Next Top Model.”
This agreement is a new high-water mark for online video streaming services. With this deal, Hulu will offer users of both Hulu and the Hulu Plus subscription service current season episodes from 5 of the 6 broadcast networks (ABC, The CW, FOX, NBC, and Univision) before the end of the year. This is in addition to the more than 45 other content partners from whom we offer current season TV programming, including A&E, Bravo, Comedy Central, E! Entertainment, FX, History, MTV, Spike and USA Network to name just a few.
In total across the Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service, we offer users more than 42,000 full TV episodes from current seasons, prior seasons of current TV shows, and old favorites that are no longer on the air.
For the past 4 years, we have been hard at work building a differentiated and high-value service for our three customers (users, content owners and advertisers). We are proud that Hulu is the only online video service to offer such a unique and compelling line-up of content.