As arguably the leader of the perennial group of those playing second fiddle to Netflix’s online streaming market domination, Hulu have plenty of incentive to bridge the gap between themselves and other services in the race to be ‘best of the rest’ in subscription video, and will hope that as would be expected, signing new content into their portfolio is a sure-fire way of increasing their appeal and value for money with customers.
The latest move that they have pulled off in this department will be a wide-reaching one that should almost certainly feature ‘something for everyone’, after announcing a contract with BBC commercial branch BBC Worldwide for a deal that will bring no less than 144 BBC shows to the American site, who have arranged their first major content acquisition since being removed from a potential sale by owners Disney and 21st Century Fox.
Adding to the range of content Hulu has signed from major American content sources, the deal with the British broadcaster will include an estimated 2,000 individual episodes of content, whilst the shows featured in the contract are headlined by sci-fi series Doctor Who, crime dramas Luther and Sherlock, and classic 1970′s hotel comedy Fawlty Towers, amongst others. Also believed to be also be joining the arrangement are popular UK titles including factual motoring series Top Gear, classic Rowan Atkinson-led period sitcom Blackadder, and Olympic organisation comedy Twenty Twelve.
Most of the content is set to also be available through the service’s ad-free subscription service Hulu Plus, a move that will probably be the closest any American gets to the BBC iPlayer experience without taking the next flight to the British Isles. The shows will be expanding their presence via an established platform, with both versions of Hulu collectively home to over 30 million monthly visitors, but it was undisclosed as to how much BBC Worldwide received for the sale of streaming rights.
Hulu’s acting CEO and ‘senior content vice-president’ Andy Forssell said of the arrangement: “Hulu has enjoyed a strong collaboration with BBC Worldwide North America, from international co-productions to breakthrough exclusive shows that have been embraced in the US by extremely passionate audiences. By adding this expansive collection of premium BBC Worldwide programming, Hulu plus solidifies its role as a top streaming platform for the best British programming available in the US.”
A general Hulu statement on the matter noted: “Hulu Plus has offered a broad variety of top U.K. programming since its launch, and this agreement makes the subscription service one of the premier destinations in the U.S. for premium British content. Beginning today, subscribers can start enjoying one of the widest online offerings of the acclaimed Doctor Who series, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, in addition to its popular spinoffs The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood, as well as natural history and factual programming including Blue Planet, Richard Hammond’s Crash Course, and many more.”
BBC Worldwide’s Matt Forde added: “With this exciting deal we hope the Hulu audience will continue to enjoy the shows they already love while discovering new gems to experience.”