The Hulu Drumbeat Grows Louder and Louder and Louder

On April 29th at the 2015 Hulu Upfront Presentation in New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, our CEO Mike Hopkins, Head of Advertising Sales, Peter Naylor and SVP Head of Content, Craig Erwich, took the stage to announce landmark deals, overall company growth and our new slate of Hulu Originals alongside our talented cast & creators, as well as a very special surprise guest.

Saturday Night Live’s Taran Killam hosted the event and was joined by Hulu Original talent including 11/22/63’s J.J. Abrams and James Franco; Amy Poehler, Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner from upcoming comedy series Difficult People; Casual’s Jason Reitman and Zander Lehmann; The Way’s award-winning executive producer Jason Katims; Star and Creator of Hulu Original The Awesomes, Seth Meyers; and RocketJump’s Freddie Wong. Plus, at the end of the show, legendary comedian and star of one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, Jerry Seinfeld, joined Craig on stage to officially announce that Hulu has acquired the exclusive subscription video on-demand (SVOD) rights to all episodes of Seinfeld.

In addition to acquiring the streaming rights to Seinfeld, we also announced a new, multi-year agreement with AMC that grants us the streaming rights to future programming from AMC Networks.

We’re excited about the huge year ahead for us – from our growing library of full seasons of hit series exclusive to Hulu, to even more premium original programming that we know our audience will love. Here are a few updates from our Upfront.

Company Updates Announced at the Hulu Upfront

Since launching seven years ago, Hulu continues to grow from all sides of the business. Our subscriber base has grown to nearly nine million subscribers, a 50% increase in subscriber base since 2014. Within the first 90 days of 2015, total streams have increased by 77% and, in that same period of time, viewers streamed more than 700 million hours of premium content on Hulu.

Hulu Becomes the Exclusive SVOD Home to all Episodes of Seinfeld

Our SVP, Head of Content, Craig Erwich was joined by iconic comedian Jerry Seinfeld on stage at the Hulu Upfront to announce that Hulu has acquired the exclusive SVOD rights to all episodes of the award-winning, hit series Seinfeld. After becoming one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, all nine seasons of the timeless comedy series will make their SVOD debut exclusively on Hulu.

The series comes to Hulu in a new deal with Sony Pictures Television. Every episode of Seinfeld will be available for Hulu subscribers to stream this June.

An Emmy and Golden Globe winner for Best Comedy Series, Seinfeld is one of the most popular, most award-winning and longest-running comedy series of all time. Jerry Seinfeld stars as a stand-up comedian whose life in New York City is made even more chaotic by his quirky group of friends who join him in wrestling with life’s most perplexing, yet often trivial questions. Often described as “a show about nothing,” Seinfeld mines the humor in life’s mundane situations like waiting in line, searching for a lost item, or the trials and tribulations of dating. Co-starring are Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Jerry’s ex-girlfriend and current platonic pal, Elaine Benes; Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Jerry’s neurotic hard-luck best friend; and Michael Richards as Jerry’s eccentric neighbor, Kramer.

New Exclusive Licensing Agreement with AMC Networks Inc.

We also announced a groundbreaking, multi-year deal with AMC Networks Inc. for the exclusive SVOD rights to new and upcoming primetime scripted comedy and drama series from AMC, IFC, BBC America, Sundance TV and WE tv. The new agreement will make Hulu the exclusive streaming home to the highly anticipated companion series to The Walking Dead, titled: Fear the Walking Dead. Through the deal, Hulu will – over time – become the SVOD home to a diverse and comprehensive collection of AMC Networks Inc.-produced content.

We will also become the streaming home for a significant number of films from the IFC Films collection.

Full seasons of future series produced by AMC Networks will be available to stream exclusively on Hulu following their network season runs.

Advertising Innovations

Custom-Integrated-Commercials

Peter Naylor announced a new advertising solution for marketers called the Custom Integrated Commercial. With custom integrated commercials, we will create custom video commercial spots that strategically integrate the values of a marketer’s brand with the values of the Hulu brand. These custom spots will convey a shared brand story that resonates with Hulu viewers.

Programmatic

Over the next few years, we will roll out Programmatic Ad Buying, a new service that will combine Hulu’s data to that of a brand’s in order to provide even more effective targeting solutions. Programmatic advertising capabilities on Hulu will utilize media automation and data to build advertisements into the most effective series, episodes and time slots. This will allow Hulu to target the right ad to the right user at the right time.

Distribution

In our first-ever deal with a cable or satellite provider, Hulu will soon be available to Cablevision Optimum customers. Optimum is the first cable provider to announce plans to provide its customers with access to Hulu’s comprehensive catalog of content. The deal will make Hulu accessible directly to Optimum subscribers in the New York area. Pricing and availability date will be announced in the near future.

Our commitment to becoming more accessible to viewers, across more devices, will continue to be a priority in 2015 and we will roll out on several providers beginning this summer through additional MVPD deals.

Hulu Originals Slate

11/22/63

  • Premiere date: 2016
  • Cast: James Franco, Daniel Webber, Lucy Fry, Sarah Gadon, Chris Cooper, Cherry Jones, George MacKay, Leon Rippy and Brooklyn Sudano
  • Crew: Executive Produced by J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk
  • Synopsis: Nine-hour limited event series based upon the best-selling 2011 novel written by Stephen King. 11/22/63 is a thriller in which high school history teacher Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — but his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, his falling in love and the past itself … which doesn’t want to be changed.

Difficult People

  • Premiere date: Summer 2015
  • Cast:Julie Klausner, Billy Eichner, Andrea Martin, James Urbaniak, Gabourey Sidibe, Cole Escola
  • Crew: Executive Produced by Amy Poehler and Dave Becky. Created by Julie Klausner
  • Synopsis: Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner star as best friends living in New York City. Their typical, irreverent behavior lands them in some very awkward situations.

Casual

  • Premiere date: 2015
  • Cast: Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins
  • Crew: Executive Producer / Director Jason Reitman, Writer / Creator Zander Lehmann, Producer Helen Estabrook
  • Synopsis: Casual follows the story of a dysfunctional family with a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating (on-line and off), while living under one roof again and raising a teenager.

The Way

  • Premiere date: Winter 2015
  • Cast: TBD
  • Crew: Executive Producer Jason Katims, Creator / Writer Jessica Goldberg, Producer Michelle Lee
  • Synopsis: The 10-episode drama series examines a family at the center of a controversial faith–based movement struggling with relationships, marriage and power. Each hour-long episode will take an in-depth look at what it means to choose between the life we live and the life we want.

RocketJump: The Show

  • Premiere date: Fall 2015
  • Cast: Freddie Wong and the RocketJump team
  • Crew: Created / Produced / Written by Freddie Wong and the RocketJump team
  • Synopsis: Each half-hour episode of the comedy series will chronicle the filmmaking behind RocketJump’s newest short. The eight full episodes will be released on Hulu on a weekly basis and the newly-created shorts will premiere on Hulu.

Reach out to your Hulu sales rep at advertise@hulu.com to learn more about how you can effectively align your brand with premium content on Hulu.

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Andy-Goldberg
ANDY GOLDBERG
SVP, Global Brand Planning & Content
American Express
The first ad I remember:
Fruit Loops with Toucan Sam
My favorite TV show of all time:
Impossible to name just one but Friday Night Lights is on the all-time list.
I’m here to:
Connect with others on the potential of streaming … how things are changing so rapidly and how brands can be at the forefront of amazing content.

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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.

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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: 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.

Alex_48_C3100_HEP_9x15_648x1080px
Alex-Lopez
ALEX LOPEZ
Head of Global Brand Communications & Narrative
Nike
The first ad I remember:
Mike & Spike (Air Jordan)
My favorite TV show of all time:
Sports, The Simpsons, The Sopranos, or anything else that starts with “S”.
I’m here to:
Get inspired, build some knowledge, and have some laughs along the way.

Q: Why do you prefer PCM codec?

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

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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.

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