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Hulu is trying to out-weird Netflix

Published Aug 2nd, 2013 3:15PM EDT
Hulu Netflix Rivalry Analysis

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.

There is one metric where Hulu is apparently hellbent on trumping Netflix — sheer weirdness. New show The Strange Calls is about a cop demoted to a small town where people turn into chickens and mermen attend school dances. Merpeople are clearly an emerging theme for streaming content now that Netflix is launching its own teen mermaid drama.

Hulu is also counting on the concept of Jimmy Falcone as a mob boss who ends up in witness protection in Canada.  This sounds oddly reminiscent of Lilyhammer-  a Netflix series about a mob boss trying to start a new life in Norway, another polite northern country.

All in all, quirky is good. Hulu seems to be somewhat self-consciously trying to mimic the oddball appeal of Netflix shows. Hopefully, the results are genuinely original and not artificially zany.

After launching mobile game company SpringToys tragically early in 2000, Tero Kuittinen spent eight years doing equity research at firms including Alliance Capital and Opstock. He is currently an analyst and VP of North American sales at mobile diagnostics and expense management Alekstra, and has contributed to, Forbes and Business 2.0 Magazine in addition to BGR.