Hulu on Monday announced 10 original and exclusive TV shows that will premiere this summer, including one from writer-director-actor Kevin Smith. Smith, known for the cult classic Clerks and numerous other films, will host a half-hour movie “revue” for movie lovers, which will be available on Hulu and Hulu Plus beginning June 4th. “I have always wanted to do a show that provides an open forum for real fans to discuss real movies in real time and that’s what ‘Spoilers’ is about. As a filmmaker and lover of movies, I understand that ultimately it’s the fans who make the film. So in this show, we do not review movies, we revere them,” said Smith. In August, Hulu will launch a travel series called “Up To Speed” from filmmaker Richard Linklater, and in the same month, the company will premiere “an edgy male comedy” called “We Got Next.” The streaming website will also carry seven TV shows that have never been available before in the U.S., including “Rev.,” “The Yard,” “Pramface,” “Derren Brown: Inside Your Mind,” “The Promise” and “Little Mosque,” along with the second season of the sci-fi thriller, “The Booth at the End.” Hulu’s press release follows below. More →
New data from Nielsen suggests that console owners are using their Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii game consoles to stream video content more than ever before. “Streaming now represents a reported 14 percent of Xbox 360 time, 15 percent of PS3 time and 33 percent of Wii time,” Nielsen said Wednesday. The market research firm explained that the growth in time spent streaming was driven by services such as ESPN 3, Netflix, MLB Network and Hulu, but that time spent using consoles also increased overall. Console usage during the first half of 2011 jumped 7% from the same time period last year. Nielsen said gaming is the most popular activity on Xbox 360 (34% of usage), the PS3 is most used for DVD/Blu-ray viewing (22% of usage) and the Wii is used most for offline gaming (55% of usage). More →
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam recently took the stage during a UBS conference in New York where he explained that Verizon once considered purchasing Hulu. McAdam did not comment on another rumor, which suggests that Verizon is working on building its own video streaming service that could compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Reuters first reported on the rumor and said the service could be deployed next year in areas where Verizon doesn’t offer its FiOS broadband and TV products. It is unclear what programming partners Verizon is speaking with, although Reuters suggested Epix or Viacom would be two content companies that might be interested. “If this deal comes true it’s not clear to me what Verizon would bring to the table that is materially different to what others like Amazon offer,” Bernstein Research analyst Carlos Kirjner told Reuters. McAdams did admit that, while Verizon may not be purchasing Hulu now, his company “[continues] to look at alternatives.” More →
Bids for the online streaming company Hulu are due on Wednesday but it is still unclear what the company’s future will hold. Bidders will “submit proposals with wide price ranges based on what types of television shows Hulu would license, when those shows would become available on Hulu and how long the agreements would stretch,” The Wall Street Journal said in a report. Most recently, Hulu changed its licensing terms and now offers television shows eight days after they air, which could turn some viewers off from the service entirely. Previously, Hulu allowed viewers to watch their favorite shows for free the day after they aired, a much more attractive option. Hulu Plus subscribers can still watch new episodes the next day. Rumors surfaced in July that Apple was pondering a Hulu purchase and The Wall Street Journal said Amazon, Google, DirecTV and Yahoo are among those who have been named as potential bidders. Industry insiders have suggested company could fetch between $500 million and $2 billion.
Hulu has confirmed that it is considering a third subscription option that would allow users to stream ad-free TV shows and movies for a higher monthly fee. “We’re currently an ad supported service but are looking into the option of a higher priced ad-free option,” a Hulu representative stated from an official Twitter account. Hulu made several additional comments to the same effect on Friday from its customer support Twitter account. The move would be an interesting one; Hulu dropped the price of its Hulu Plus premium subscription service to $7.99 last November, presumably due at least in part to slower than expected consumer adoption. A new pricier plan in spite of the recent price drop, that could also potentially anger network partners, is a tough pill to swallow —especially as the company looks for a buyer.
A firm named Rovi Corp has filed a complaint with the U.S. District court of Delaware alleging that Hulu infringes on one of its patents. Rovi Corp is not often in the headlines but its client list sports names of big hitter tech firms. Reuters said that Rovi licenses technology to Apple, Comcast and Microsoft and is even used to support the back-end of BlockBuster’s On Demand service and Best Buy’s CinemaNow. Hulu was put up for sale on June 24th and a number of companies are rumored to have been considering a bid on the streaming media company, including Apple. Hulu has yet to comment on the lawsuit. More →
Apple is toying with the idea of placing a bid on the Hulu video streaming service, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. In June, Hulu announced that it had hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with a the sale of the company and rumor had it that Yahoo! was interested in making a bid at that time. Should an acquisition happen, Apple might use Hulu to create a subscription screaming video offering in an effort to compete with services such as Netflix. Currently, customers can only purchase or rent videos from iTunes. Amazon is also interested in the company, although Bloomberg reported that it won’t make a move unless it can have guaranteed access to television shows. Hulu, which offers a premium Hulu Plus subscription option for $7.99 per month, said that it expects to surpass 1 million subscribers this August. More →
When we last heard from social media listening firm Mashwork, we learned that future smartphone buyers were much more interested in purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S II than the 4G-friendly Motorola DROID BIONIC. Mashwork is back on Monday with some more interesting findings: according to the firm’s latest research, 45% more people prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus than vice versa. Pulling data from 10,283 relevant tweets between June 28th and July 6th, 2011, 29% of all users prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus for streaming movies and TV shows, while 20% prefer Hulu Plus over Netflix. Also of note, 51% of those accounted for in Mashwork’s study use both services and are hoping to cut the cord with their cable or satellite TV providers. Hulu certainly would like to have been positioned better in the study; Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed at a recent Allen & Co conference that Hulu owners NBCUniversal, News Corp and Disney/ABC Television Group are currently trying to sell the company. Mashwork’s full infographic follows below. More →
Hulu announced on Thursday that its Hulu Plus application is now available on select Android smartphones. The service costs $7.99 per month and allows users to browse and play Hulu Plus content directly on their smartphones. It’s currently only available for the Motorola Atrix, Motorola DROID X, Motorola DROID 2, HTC Inspire 4G, Nexus S, and Nexus One, but Hulu says it will add more devices throughout the year. New users can sign up for a free 1-week trial to give the service a whirl, and the app is available in the Android Market now. In other news, Hulu is also reportedly up for sale. The company has hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with possible deals, and Yahoo is said to have already expressed interest in bidding on the streaming video firm. More →
Looks like the weekend’s going to start a bit early. Hulu’s subscription-based Hulu Plus service will launch for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 on Friday, and here’s the best part: it’s free for Xbox Live (Gold and Silver) users until May 6th. After that you’ll have to drop $7.99 per month to kick back and watch your favorite shows from ABC, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, MTV, and others. Hulu’s even adding Kinect support, which means you’ll be able to play, pause, fast forward, or rewind whatever you’re watching with your voice or with a gesture. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Research In Motion is working with Hulu in an effort to provide BlackBerry PlayBook users with access to Hulu’s online videos, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. The BlackBerry PlayBook launched with full Adobe Flash support, which meant PlayBook users were able to stream movies and television shows from the online content provider, until Hulu decided to block access earlier this week. “We are in conversations with Hulu to bring Hulu Plus subscription service to BlackBerry PlayBook users,” a spokeswoman for RIM told The Wall STreet Journal. Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month, however, so it appears that Hulu’s free offering will continue to be blocked for the foreseeable future. More →
Google still reigns supreme in the U.S. online video market, according to new data released Thursday by comScore. There were more than 5.0 billion U.S. internet video viewing sessions during the month of February, and 1.8 billion of them were on Google sites — which includes YouTube. Google was followed by Microsoft’s sites (48.8 million unique viewers and a total of 297 million viewing sessions), Yahoo! Sites (46.7 unique viewers and a total of 200 million total viewing sessions), Facebook.com (46.6 millon unique, 170 million total), and the music video site VEVO (45.9 million unique, 222 million total). Across the entire internet, viewers watched an average of 816 minutes of video each, 261 minutes of which were on Google’s sites. comScore also said that video ads reached 42% of Americans with U.S. citizens watching a total of 3.8 billion video ads in February. Hulu served the most impressions reaching 7.8% of the total U.S. population with 1.1 billion ads viewed. More →
The Warner Bros. blockbuster The Dark Knight has become the first title to be made available for rental on Facebook, giving us our first glimpse of what ultimately could be a truly disruptive home entertainment product. Executives at Netflix, Hulu, Redbox and other similar services were no doubt squirming in their seats on Tuesday morning following the announcement that users can now use Facebook credits to rent The Dark Knight for $3. One rented, the movie can be streamed directly from the movie’s Facebook fan page for 48 hours. “Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, in a statement. “Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network.” Warner Bros. said it also plans to make digital movies available for purchase via Facebook. Hit the break for Warner Bros.’ full press release. More →