A Strong 2013

It has been a big year at Hulu. I feel very fortunate to have stepped into a company that has such a strong team, showing such incredible performance. I’m humbled by the work that the team has done this year, and the focus that they have continued to demonstrate. I’m pleased to report the results of the team’s great efforts this year.

Revenue

Hulu will reach $1 billion in revenue in 2013. That’s up from $695 million in 2012. When you think about the fact that Hulu first launched out of beta in 2008, it’s quite an impressive feat to scale the business from zero to $1 billion over the course of just six years. 

Hulu Plus

Earlier this year, we reached 5 million subscribers. Roughly 50% of those subscribers are now streaming exclusively on devices, with living room viewing accounting for over half of all content consumption on the service. Hulu Plus is now accessible on more than 400 million Internet connected devices in the U.S., including the all-new Xbox One, PlayStation®4, Chromecast, Nintendo 3DS and Windows Phone 8.* We also provided a refreshed and redesigned Hulu Plus experience on Apple TV, iPad, and millions of Samsung, Roku, and Wii devices. It is our goal to provide the best user experience possible on every device, so consumers can take their favorite TV shows with them on-the-go.

Content

We are continually adding to the content available on Hulu and Hulu Plus–this year, we grew our Hulu and Hulu Plus offerings to 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). 

Hulu Plus is the only online video subscription service that offers current season content from five of the six largest U.S. broadcast networks. Hulu users can watch seven of the top 10 TV shows in primetime, anytime and anywhere, including Modern Family, The Voice, The Blacklist, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Sleepy Hollow and many more.**

We launched more than 20 Hulu Originals in 2013, and plan to double that number over the next few years. Shows like The Awesomes, Behind the Mask and The Wrong Mans performed extremely well on the service, and were among the top 10 most-watched shows on Hulu each week a new episode aired.

We were excited to bring you over 2,000 new episodes and 144 titles through a content deal with BBC Worldwide North America that includes internationally-beloved favorites like Doctor Who, Luther, Top Gear and Sherlock. Additionally, we added the first four seasons of the critically acclaimed drama The Good Wife to the Hulu Plus library as part of our multi-year licensing agreement with CBS. And your kids will be entertained for hours with the new content we added to the Hulu Kids hub from the Jim Henson Family TV Library, giving Hulu Plus the rights to more Jim Henson Family titles than any other video subscription service in the U.S., including Fraggle Rock. We also added classic titles from PBS Kids and Lionsgate including Sesame Street and Thomas & Friends, as well as Spanish-language kids programming. 

We look forward to increasing our overall content offerings, and will continue to invest in last night’s TV, original first-run TV programming, and great library TV from the U.S. and other markets.

Advertising

In 2013, we saw our roster of advertisers expand to more than 1,000 brands–a 15% increase over last year. It was also a record year for consumption as Hulu viewers streamed more than 1 billion content videos in each quarter, and stayed with us for approximately 50 minutes per session in Q4. And throughout the year, 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.

Hulu Japan

Hulu Japan is on track to end 2013 having more than doubled the number of subscribers from the beginning of this year. We now have over 50 content partners offering users more than 12,000 assets of TV dramas and movies, and Hulu is available on more than 90 million devices (PCs not included). 

Team

Over the course of the year, we hired over 260 new team members. Currently, the Hulu team is 725 members strong; that’s nearly 20% growth in our employee base year-over-year. In the last two quarters alone, we added over 140 new hires. I’d like to thank the Hulu team for their incredible commitment and execution, evidenced by the company’s continued growth.

It’s exciting for me to see the continued growth of the business and be part of such a great team. As we scale the business in 2014, we will continue to invest in content, technology and people. 2014 will bring even more opportunity as we find new ways to grow the business from the strong foundation we have built. Thank you for being users and fans of Hulu–we couldn’t do it without you.

*Not including laptop and desktop computers.
**Source: Nielsen NPM, October 2013.

 


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*Required Field

Q: Why do you ask for progressive?

A: The Hulu player, unlike traditional broadcast, does not play back interlace scan, so we require that all videos be delivered with their scan type set to progressive. If your video is natively interlaced, you must de-interlace it to progressive and you must employ a de-interlace filter that does not result in blending or ghosting artifacts. We recommend an auto-adaptive de-interlace if available.

Stress mark should be marked with [capitals] to indicate the primary stressed syllable, as in: news・pa・per [NOOZ-pey-per] in・for・ma・tion [in-fer-MEY-shuhn]

On living room, mobile, and tablet devices, the color gradient overlay is dynamic and will change based on the cover story art. It is not something we can control on our end.

If the tagline/date messaging doesn’t fit within the 11 syllables max, it can be included as text.

On living room, mobile, and tablet devices, the color gradient overlay is dynamic and will change based on the cover story art. It is not something we can control on our end.

  • No symbols such as registered marks, copyrights, etc.
  • If symbols are required, they will be presented in standard text such as" Brand (TM)".

Q: When is letterboxing allowed and not allowed?

A: When the native aspect ratio is 1.78:1 or 1.33:1 throughout the entire program, there should not be any letterboxing (black bars on top and bottom), nor should there be any pillarboxing (black bars on either side). We should should see an active picture take up the full frame. If the aspect ratio is wider than 1.78:1, such as 2.35:1, matting on the top and bottom is permissible. Additionally, if there is a creative choice to add matting or if there is a mix of native aspect ratios, this is usually waived, but please reach out to your Hulu representative to confirm.

Q: Should the bitrate be constant if delivering ProRes codec?
A: No, since ProRes codec is built to be variable, this is waived.

Q: Can you accept bitrate higher than 30 Mbps?
A: Yes, we can accept bitrate beyond the recommended range for H.264 and ProRes. In the case of ProRes, bitrate will often exceed 30 Mbps due to its variable setting.

Q: What does native frame rate mean?

A: Native frame rate refers to the frame rate the source footage was shot. Whenever possible, we require all videos to be delivered in their native frame rate. This means that no frame rate conversion should be performed, which includes adding 3:2 pulldown for broadcast.

Q: Why do you prefer PCM codec?

A: PCM codec is lossless audio quality, so whenever possible, please deliver PCM audio.

The use of Graphik is acceptable in cases where the Client cannot supply their own typeface.

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Q&A With
Gadi Amit

Founder, New Deal Design

Gadi: The development of serendipity in recommendations is very important. An analogy I use is that of a restaurant. If you go to a good restaurant, you don’t always want to see what you’re looking for. You’re looking for surprises. It’s not the expected, it’s the unexpected. You trust in the restaurant’s atmosphere. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting, but you trust their creativity and that you’ll enjoy whatever they serve you.

Do you think it is possible for a streaming service to become that “restaurant” - a trusted source of serendipitous recommendations?

Gadi: I absolutely do. But it is difficult. It’s a long game. It requires them to build trustworthiness with audiences through genuine content recommendations over the years.

Q&A With
Gandi Amit

Found New Deal Design

Gandi: The development of serendipity in recommendations is very important. An analogy I use is that of a restaurant. If you go to a good restaurant, you don’t always want to see what you’re looking for. You’re looking for surprises. It’s not the expected, it’s the unexpected. You trust in the restaurant’s atmosphere. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting, but you trust their creativity and that you’ll enjoy whatever they serve you.

Do you think it is possible for a streaming service to become that “restaurant” -- a trusted source of serendipitous recommendations?

Gandi: I absolutely do. But it is difficult. It’s a long game. It requires them to build trustworthiness with audiences through genuine content recommendations over the years.

Q&A With
Jonathan Miranda

Emerging Strategy Principal, Salesforce

Another expectation among younger generations seems to be personalization. How are you seeing this play out in media?

Jonathan: If you go into the world of advertising and marketing, customized, personalized advertising is more important than ever before. There’s a realization that eight years of funny commercials that we’ve showed everybody probably for the fourth time, doesn’t work anymore. So there’s a lot of companies moving towards specialized advertising.

How does this type of personalization translate to personalizing content beyond advertising? Who’s going to predict what people will want to watch, and do it first?

Jonathan: It’s not about being the first to predict what people want to watch. It's different. It’s about getting viewers to browse. You want to show them the value of all of the money Hulu has spent and the great range of TV and film for them to choose from.

Q&A With
Julie DeTragila

Head of Research & Insights, Hulu

Julie: There are vast differences between the way under 35-year-olds watch TV and over 35-year-olds watch TV. I grew up in a world where there were maybe 10 channels, and my viewing changed as technology and options changed. Younger viewers started from a really different place. Everything has always been on-demand. Anything they ever wanted to see was available to them, and they therefore have different expectations for TV.

How so?

Julie: One of the things we found with Gen Z is that they really want to be immersed in something for a long time. They want to have content that they can live with for a while; it’s like this long, seamless storytelling. They’ll knock off a couple episodes a night and it will last a couple of months. And then they’ll re-watch it a million times over.

What other shifts have you seen happen-with Gen Z but also more broadly-with the rise of streaming?

Julie: For years, television had to deliver a specific rating. Shows had to appeal broadly or else they wouldn’t survive. And those days are long gone because, with streaming services, shows can reach hundreds of thousands of people or tens of thousands of people and still be considered successful. There’s more experimentation with the types of content; we’re not locked into an hour, a half hour, a comedy, etc. The industry can create really niche shows to appeal to niche audiences, but also simultaneously create big, broad experiences that are shared by millions.

Q&A With
Larissa May

Founder, #HalftheStory

Your work focuses a lot on Gen Zs who, for better or worse, are dubbed “digital natives.” How do you think a generation of digitally native audiences view digital content differently than older generations?

Larissa: I think for young people digital content is a way they’re able to explore their own identities through the story... They want to see themselves and their stories in the content that they’re engaging with.

Tell us a little more about this digital content as Gen Z’s form of self-reflection.

Larissa: Digital content is sort of like a currency. I find that young people want to watch things that their friends are watching so that they can have conversations about it. For example, with Euphoria, young people were just kind of in love with the characters. It was very timely and a bit provocative, and then there was a way that they could see themselves in these stories and connect with their friends about the topics and ideas in the show.

And then also they could almost embody these characters in their own life. I really do think that the TV shows that young people are buying into are actually influencing their culture and their trends and even their language that they’re using.

Q&A With
Richard Frankel​

Global Creative Director, Spotify

What does the future of personalization look like?

Richard: I think it’s all down to trust. We're going to see more opportunity on platforms like Hulu and Spotify where the user trusts us.

That’s really interesting. Another area we wanted to explore is podcasts, and their relationship to video. For example, the show Homecoming is an adaptation of a podcast; the podcast Office Ladies is a spin-off from a TV show. Why do you think the two formats work so well together?

Richard: Anything at all that drives conversation in pop culture, and TV does a lot of that, is worthy of consideration in a podcast environment. Any of these conversations can become multiple audio streams that evolve with experts, interviews, and all kinds of narrative threads that can flesh out characters, or narrative development, or whatever's happening in those shows.