Netflix is cruising into a hugely ambitious 2014 regarding original content. The glossy political thriller “House of Cards” is getting a new season shot in HD and featuring top shelf cast members like Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey. The Wachowski siblings are prepping a mind-bendingly ambitious sci-fi series featuring an Icelandic party girl, an African bus driver and a transgender American blogger. Hollywood mid-brow super producers, the Weinstein brothers, are bringing in a Marco Polo project. A gritty drug drama called “Narcos” is expected to echo themes of “Traffic.” And the quirky blockbuster series of the summer of 2013, “Orange is the New Black,” will get a new season. More →
Just days after expanding its roster of British shows dramatically, BGR sister site Variety reports that Hulu is considering an ad-free service that could be a bit more expensive than Hulu Plus. At the moment, Hulu offers a free service with three ads every 30 minutes and the $8 Hulu Plus service runs two ads every 30 minutes. Hulu seems to be in a hurry to revamp its service after Netflix has dominated U.S. media coverage of streaming services all year long. The problem here is that Hulu’s new moves seem reactive. An ad-free service would be nice — but Netflix already offers it. Getting a wide selection of BBC shows like “Doctor Who,” “Top Gear,” and others also sounds like a great idea — but Netflix has long had a supremely broad selection of British shows spanning several decades and genres like crime, drama, comedy, period pieces and documentaries. More →
The new video report from Ooyala gives us a glimpse of how rapidly the American consumer’s habits are changing. As broadcast television continues its slow disintegration, consumers are increasing their video consumption on smartphones and tablets with ferocious speed. Time spent on watching videos on tablets increased by a massive 59% during the first half of 2013. Interestingly, the peak period for staring at iPads is now Friday night. Broadcast behemoths like ABC, NBC and CBS abandoned Fridays years ago, opting to dump dying shows into Friday night time slots and focus their efforts on the first four days of the week. This has evidently started backfiring as consumers are turning Fridays into tablet video nights. This will no doubt erode Friday audiences of major channels even further, accelerating the downward spiral of big broadcasters. More →
Perhaps goaded by the dazzling media blitz Netflix has managed to generate with its original shows, Hulu is now attempting to launch a string of its own buzz-worthy shows. Compared to its far larger rival, Hulu seems to be a lot more budget conscious with its original content. There is nothing as classy as Kevin Spacey or Robin Wright in the new roster. Instead, the Hulu shows are anchored by fading TV stars like Eva Longoria and Seth Myers. More →
Hulu isn’t letting Netflix reap all the rewards for producing original content. Bloomberg reports that Hulu is planning to release its own original series that will be available to Hulu Plus subscribers, starting this fall with a show called The Wrong Mans that Bloomberg describes as “a comedy about two office workers who become caught up in a deadly criminal conspiracy.” From there, the company plans to release “20 exclusive and original series this year” with the goal of releasing 40 original series over the next two years. Netflix has shown that online content providers can have success with their own original shows, as House of Cards, Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black have been hits with critics and audiences.
Netflix’s share price almost hit a giddy $26o on Friday as it became clear that Hulu was not going to be acquired by DirectTV or Time Warner. The company’s market cap is now nearing $15 billion, driven by what is widely regarded as a deeply irrational investor mania. But is Wall Street’s infatuation sheer lunacy? At the moment, Netflix is miles ahead of the other streaming video rivals when it comes to creating original content. Its latest show, “Orange is the New Black,” may be a quirky niche item, but it has topped 80% on Metacritic and is garnering some rave reviews from influential media mavens. Netflix is putting together a roster of ambitious high-profile shows that appeal to very distinct demographic niches. “Orange” is designed to basically grab the “Weeds” demo of 30 to 50-year-old professional women, “House of Cards’ ” audience’s average household income likely tops $100,000, and the upcoming Dreamworks animations are going to be catnip for families with kids under 8 years old. More →
Hulu announced on Friday that 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Company will maintain ownership of the company. The video streaming service was considering a sale and had received bids from DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Yahoo, among others. The firm’s three owners now plan to double down on Hulu and collectively invest an additional $750 million in an effort to “propel future growth.” Hulu provides content from more than 400 partners to over 30 million monthly visitors. The company also offers a premium subscription service, known as Hulu Plus, that currently counts more than four million subscribers, but it continues to struggle against competing services offered by Netflix and Amazon. Hulu’s press release follows below. More →
Netflix on Monday announced a blockbuster deal that will bring no less than 300 hours of original content from DreamWorks to its streaming video service. That means Netflix will have the rights to premier new series with characters from franchises that might include Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Casper the Friendly Ghost. A deal of this magnitude with a leading animation house could be extremely expensive and no details about actual programming have been divulged at this point. That’s why it’s fascinating that Netflix’s share price soared by as much as 8% on Monday. More →
A Hulu sale is imminent and DirecTV is the likely victor, according to multiple unnamed sources speaking to Pando Daily. This would be possibly the best case scenario for a strong Hulu move towards original content creation. DirecTV is a behemoth with 20 million subscribers and annual revenue of roughly $20 billion. It could easily afford to launch an aggressive slate of Netflix-type original programming, even if hiring marquee names would push the cost of a limited series to $100 million a pop. More →
The latest NPD numbers show Hulu growing at a surprisingly robust pace. Its share of U.S. shows streamed in Q1 2013 jumped to 10% from 7% in the same period one year earlier. Netflix still stands in majestic solitude with an 89% share, but its dominance is not preventing Hulu from gradually gaining ground. New reports suggest that no fewer than seven possible buyers are circling Hulu. The most interesting scenario for American consumers would be an acquisition that would lead to a deep-pocketed buyer investing heavily in exclusive Hulu content in coming years — over the past couple of months, Netflix has demonstrated that new content from streaming video providers could have a seismic impact on the U.S. media business. More →
Hulu couldn’t find any serious suitors for an acquisition last time it was on the block, but 2013 is a completely different story. Yahoo, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are each among the companies offering serious cash for the movie and TV show streaming service, and a new report suggests AT&T may soon enter the fray with a joint bid. AllThingsD reports that AT&T and The Chernin Group are in talks to make a play for Hulu, though the amount the pair might offer is not currently known. The Chernin Group had previously bid $500 million for Hulu this past April, however a series of more recent bids have reportedly reached as high as $1 billion.
The bidding for popular video streaming site Hulu just got a lot more intense. Reuters reports that three companies have each bid in excess of $1 billion to buy Hulu, including satellite TV provider DirecTV. All three bids easily dwarf the $600 million to $800 million that Yahoo was reportedly offering for the company and significantly increase the odds that News Corp and Disney will be able to successfully sell the company in the coming months after failing to find a buyer two years ago. In addition to Yahoo and DirecTV, Time Warner Cable has also made a bid for Hulu, although that bid is reportedly for an equity stake and not outright ownership of the company.
So how much will it take for Yahoo to buy itself a stake in Hulu? According to a new report from AllThingsD, at least $600 million. Citing “numerous sources close to the situation,” AllThingsD reports that Yahoo is bidding between $600 million and $800 million for Hulu, a range that reflects the fact that Yahoo “has proposed several different prices based on a variety of circumstances” including “the length of the licensing rights for content and how much control the programming companies selling Hulu have over their media.” More →