I’m under no illusions that Hulu will threaten Netflix anytime soon. That said, Hulu has been on an absolute roll lately and has made some key breakthroughs that will go a long way toward putting it on more equal footing with its giant video streaming rival.
How well you do in the streaming market basically boils down to the quality of content that runs exclusively on your platform. This is a battle that Hulu has traditionally lost badly since Netflix’s original series have absolutely trounced Hulu’s original series for years.
While Netflix was spending big to produce major hits like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Daredevil, Hulu was offering us fare such as teen drama East Los High or less-than-must-see comedies like The Awesomes and The Hotwives of Orlando.
Things started to change this summer, however, when Hulu’s original comedy Difficult People proved to be a critical hit that was quickly renewed for a second season. Hulu also bid hard to be the exclusive streaming distributor of acclaimed FX shows such as Fargo, You’re the Worst and the Billy Crystal vehicle The Comedians. Hulu similarly spent big to acquire the streaming rights to every episode of Seinfeld, which everyone with nostalgia for the ’90s will be happy to have at their fingertips.
Hulu then scored a major coup earlier this week when it swiped the entire stable of Epix movies out from under Netflix’s nose. This means Hulu users will be able to stream hit movies like Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Star Trek: Into Darkness and World War Z over the service, which had badly needed to improve the quality of movies in its streaming library.
Why has it taken Hulu so long to start flexing its muscles, you ask?
I have one particular theory, although Comcast will hate it because it involves referencing this report from The Wall Street Journal earlier this year that details how Comcast purportedly botched a plan to make Hulu the official streaming app of the cable industry because the cable giant wanted to make sure Hulu viewers watched the service over Comcast’s own hardware and platform. Hulu understandably resisted this idea and the two parties’ alleged squabble set back Hulu’s development and left the service in a poor position to take on Netflix, the WSJ’s report suggested.
Comcast has denied this report without offering any specifics of why it’s wrong, despite the fact that it sounds exactly like the kind of short-sighted strategic blunder Comcast would make. And besides, we all know that The Wall Street Journal is just an unreliable gossip rag anyway that totally isn’t home to some of the best and most reliable business reporters on the planet. Who would believe them?
At any rate, it doesn’t really matter why Hulu has broken free of its doldrums right now. The fact is that it’s making a major push to be taken seriously as a major player in the American video streaming market and that’s great news for cord cutters everywhere.