Fresh Off the Auction Block, Hulu Investing in New Content

Hulu is making significant investments in content, including a licensing deal with BBC Worldwide North America to bring 144 titles to its video-streaming service. The company is also adding the first four seasons of CBS series “The Good Wife” to its library, and ordered 10 episodes of supernatural comedy “Deadbeat” from Lionsgate, one of approximately 40 original series it plans to introduce in the upcoming years. Hulu was taken off the auction block just two months ago.

Andy Forssell, Hulu’s acting chief executive, expects original programming to grow from the current 5 percent of Hulu’s viewing to 10-15 percent. Adult animation “The Awesomes” will be the first of 20 new series to launch this year.

“We’re kicking back into action,” said Forssell in an interview. “This is us doing a bunch of stuff that we’ve really wanted to do and had been put on hold for a while.”

“In July, Hulu’s owners —Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc., and Comcast Corp. — decided not to sell the site after fielding bids from companies including DirecTV and AT&T Inc.,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Instead, they injected $750 million for investments in content as well as technology and people.”

Acquiring new content is becoming increasingly important for Hulu to compete with subscription video sites such as Netflix and Amazon. According to WSJ, Netflix spends more than $2 billion per year on content.

The multi-year BBC agreement will add 2,000 episodes of shows including “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood,” “Sherlock,” “MI-5,” and “Luther.” However, the deal is not exclusive, as BBC Worldwide has similar deals with Netflix and Amazon.

“Forssell said Hulu will look for opportunities to expand partnerships with pay-TV operators that make Hulu Plus programming available to pay-TV subscribers — an approach commonly referred to as ‘TV Everywhere,'” notes the article.

“It is a great concept,” said Forssell. “That is an opportunity for us longer-term.”