Hulu secures a landmark exclusivity deal to take on Netflix
When you want to watch your favorite movies and television shows, you only have three (legal) options. The first option is to flip on your television and peruse the list of channels that you’ve purchased en masse from your cable provider. While this is the most common and well-known option out there, it’s also becoming increasingly antiquated and even a complete rip-off at times.
The handful of channels that you’re actually going to watch are crammed together with dozens, even hundreds of bloat channels that you’ll most likely never watch but are still paying for due to the fact that your cable provider bundles them together to justify their hefty prices. This, paired with the fact that the programs are stuck on a schedule and can only be watched at certain times of the day, is why more and more people are breaking away from cable companies in favor of the other two options, something that’s known as “cutting the cord”.
The second option is to use services such as iTunes and Google Play which allow à la carte rentals and purchases of movies and television shows. This was previously only possible using your computer or mobile device, but the rise of digital media player such as Roku and Apple TV have brought these services to living room televisions as well. While an internet connection is required to purchase the content, purchases are tied to an account that enables you to watch view them on any device as, well as download them to that device for offline viewing later.
The final option is to use subscription-based services such as Netflix and Hulu. While their selection of content isn’t as large as the previous two options, its much more accessible. So long as you pay the subscription fee, which currently starts at $7.99 per month for the both of them, you can view their entire selection of content as much as you want, you don’t need to pay for each individual movie or episode. This option is best for people who watch a lot of content, especially those who like to binge-watch their favorite television shows.
Netflix is currently the undisputed leader of subscription-based streaming media services thanks to its aggressive expansion outside of the United States and the fact that it was one of the first companies to provide such a service. The company has even started putting out its own original programming to draw more people to the service, with award winning shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
Hulu is a distant second, but has been working hard to close the gap. One thing that Hulu already has over Netflix is the fact that its selection of content is much more up to date. Whereas Netflix has a few newly released movies and only releases new episodes for television shows after the current season has come to a close, Hulu offers a plethora of newly released movies and adds new episodes to television shows on the same day that they air. However, the service is held back by the fact that, when watching television shows, users still have to sit through a few advertisements, even if they’re premium subscribers.
At the end of the day though, the amount of content and the quality of said content is what really matters. More importantly, it’s about offering content that the competitors don’t, something that Netflix has a clear lead in, especially with its original programming. The popularity of these kinds of services is exploding as more and more people become fed up with cable, and Netflix is soaking up the majority of these new customers.
While Hulu may lack the revenue necessary to produce as much original programming as Netflix, which plans on releasing at least 17 new shows in 2015, it does have plenty of friends that do. Hulu is actually a joint venture of the broadcasting subsidiaries of Comcast, Twenty-First Century Fox, and The Walt Disney Company, which means that its good friends with some of the most popular American television networks out there.
These friendships are why Hulu is able to offer new episodes on the same day that they air, while Netflix has to wait for the season to finish up. But that alone isn’t enough for the service to close the significant gap between itself and Netflix, which is why the company has signed a “landmark deal” with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution in order to bring more content to its subscribers.
“We worked closely with our partners at Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution to bring this new kind of agreement to Hulu. The deal not only makes the library of premium, critically acclaimed FX Networks’ Original Series available to stream to our Hulu subscribers, but – through this new, multi-year agreement – Hulu subscribers will also have exclusive access to full seasons of new series from FX Productions (FXP) coming soon to FX and FXX,” says Hulu’s Craig Erwich, as quoted by Variety.
This multi-year licensing agreement will give Hulu exclusive rights to stream new and upcoming FX and FXX-produced series, such as Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain, Man Seeking Woman starring Jay Baruchel, The Comedians starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll starring Denis Leary and John Corbett, Taboo starring Tom Hardy, and Baskets starring Zach Galifianakis. All of these shows will be available for streaming exclusively on Hulu.
As a subscriber to both services, not to mention Amazon Prime Instant Video, it’s really exciting to see the competition start heating up. The three of them together provide me with access to pretty much every movie and television show that I’d ever want to watch. I can watch it anytime I want, as much as I want, wherever I want, and the three of them together are still cheaper than the god-awful cable subscriptions that I saddled myself with in the days of old.