At its first-ever Upfront event to be held at the newly-named Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, the streaming service announced that it has surpassed 20 million subscribers (up from 17 million in January), confirmed a third season pick-up of flagship hit The Handmaid’s Tale (its just-launched second season is already breaking season one’s records, said CEO Randy Freer), and a new feature that will enable users to download content and watch offline in an ad-supported environment.
Hulu With Live TV, a skinny bundle unveiled at last year’s Upfronts, accounted for 6 billion hours of viewership in 2017, Freer said. And this year, the company is adding even more personalized features to the platform beyond its algorithm, including the ability to manually decline certain suggestions. Beginning later this quarter, Hulu will also offer dynamically-inserted ads within the Live TV product.
Hulu CMO Kelly Campbell provided some insight into the average Hulu viewer — who is 31 years old, has a household income of $92,000, consumes content on four different devices, and is typically watching 10 different shows at once, she said. In 2017, the most popular show on all of Hulu was South Park, accounting for 135 million total hours of viewership. Hulu also touted the fact that its library comprises 75,000 total TV episodes — two times more than competitors Netflix and Amazon.
While Hulu has yet to match its competitors in terms of originals clout, the company is hoping to build on the momentum of The Handmaid’s Tale with Ramy Youssef and Jerrod Carmichael‘s Ramy, a comedy about what it means to be Muslim in America, and a series adaptation of Four Weddings And A Funeral from Mindy Kaling. Previously-announced productions include George Clooney’s Catch 22; Sean Penn-starrer The First; Stephen King and J.J. Abrams’ Castle Rock (see a just-released teaser above), and Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington’s Little Fires Everywhere.
The company also announced a multi-year deal with Dreamworks Animation — marking its largest kids and family content deal to date — to serve as the exclusive streaming destination for 2019 releases, including How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, The Boss Baby 2, and Trolls 2.
And finally, Hulu shared more details about its pact with Blumhouse Productions (Get Out, The Purge) for a monthly horror anthology series called Into The Dark. Each month, Hulu will release a Blumhouse-produced horror feature that will tie into a specific holiday, including Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. Its first installment, bowing in October ahead of Halloween, is titled The Body, and will follow an overconfident hitman played by Tom Bateman.