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Netflix has nothing to fear from Hulu’s sad little content expansion

January 9th, 2014 at 1:35 PM

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.

This Netflix slate represents a truckload of past Oscar and Emmy nominations and wins — we’re talking about 50. And this week we got Hulu’s response. It’s shows like “Hotwives of Orlando,” which is a parody of Bravo’s uber-trashy “Real Housewives” series. We’re talking about a parody of a cable show, and not even the first one, since “Real Househusbands of Hollywood” is already playing to a minuscule audience.

“The Awesomes” is an animated super hero series from Saturday Night Life people, the same ones who have been consistently unfunny for the past decade. Supernatural comedy “Deadbeat” will star Cat Deeley and Tyler Labine.

Those are the big guns of Hulu’s arsenal.

It is now fairly obvious what is going on here. Netflix is spending so much money on top quality and talent that Hulu isn’t even trying to compette. It will simply slap together some cheap animations, parodies and comedies and hope to spark some marginal curiosity. This was always the most likely scenario — Hulu is owned by ABC, Fox and NBC, TV companies that have no desire to compete with their own fare.

As a result, Netflix is embarking on its ambitious original content adventure with no real sompetition from any streaming video rivals. Amazon’s lineup is possibly even lighter than Hulu’s. This is one of the most one-sided competitive landscapes in any consumer product category. How that will impact Netflix growth in 2014 is a fascinating topic.

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