Hulu is getting serious about its programming. In his first major hire since taking the helm at the premium online video destination and subscription service in October 2013, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins has announced via the Hulu blog that Craig Erwich will be Hulu’s Senior Vice President and Head of Content.
Erwich comes to Hulu by way of a seven-year stint at Warner Horizon Television, a production entity under the banner of Warner Bros. behind such notable broadcast and cable television series and miniseries as ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, A&E’s Longmire, and TNT’s Dallas. Before Warner, Erwich spent 12 years at Fox, where he helped bring series like Prison Break, 24, and House to broadcast.
“Craig is the perfect guy for the job — he has been developing shows and programming networks for over 20 years,” wrote Hopkins in his blog post. “He has impressed me and others who’ve met him with his collaborative approach, humility and tenacity to do what he believes.”
Erwich will be responsible for content development and strategy for Hulu and Hulu Plus, which Hopkins describes as leading the company as “we increase our overall content offerings, and continue to invest in original first-run TV programming, last night’s TV, and great library TV from the U.S. and other markets.”
Hopkins noted in September 2013 at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s MIXX conference that Hulu originals only account for roughly 5% of viewing on the site, but he expects that number to hit 10% to 15%. Erwich will presumably help Hulu hit those viewership goals and bring on programming that will contribute to Hulu’s $1 billion annual revenue along the way.
Though it’s been a serious contender in the premium online video marketplace for a few years longer than competitors Amazon and Netflix, Hulu has so far failed to make the same impact in terms of its original offerings. Amazon is greenlighting crowdsourced programming left and right while Netflix is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on original programming that contends with HBO for entertainment industry awards.
Meanwhile, since Evan Longoria’s Hulu original series debuted to tepid reviews last November, the destination’s most noteworthy series of the past several months is the Chipotle satire on modern foodmaking, Farmed And Dangerous. But Hulu is on course to debut some promising new programming in the very near future, including Deadbeat (a series from Brad Pitt’s Plan production company about a hapless paranormal investigator) and the second season of Seth Meyer’s animated The Awesomes.