Sunday, August 04, 2013

Lazy Sunday #284: The Hulu Effect

For the last couple of years, whenever Canadian Broadcasters gathered to discuss the future of their industry, they’ve promised to create a “Canadian Netflix” to compete with what’s perceived to be the greatest threat to their future.

What’s interesting is that, although it debuted in 2008, and despite the copycat nature of our homegrown channels, they still haven’t managed to cobble together a Canadian version of Hulu.

Hulu is an American web presence and OTT service offering ad-supported on-demand streams of TV series, movies and original web series produced by the major networks and several studios.

With a name taken from a Chinese proverb in which “the Hulu” was a repository of precious things, the distributor has become a one stop location for virtually everything a television fan either missed the night before or wants to binge on.

And it makes money. A lot of money. Last year Hulu earned $690 Million in profit.

And unlike those aforementioned Canadian broadcasters, who are currently relying on a hodge-podge of individually branded websites and no OTT delivery for their offerings, Hulu is poised to plough a big chunk of those profits back into original programming.

Need we mention –- something else Canadian broadcasters don’t do.

“East Los High”, a teen drama with a Latino perspective, began airing the first of its 24 half-hour episodes in June. Its cultural value may be less prestigious than what Netflix produces and its budgets lower, but the show is easily on a par with virtually anything CW, FX or AMC produces.

This week, it will be joined by two more half hour comedies. “Quickdraw” concerns the adventures of a Sheriff with a degree from Harvard introducing forensics to Kansas in 1875. And “The Awesomes” is the animated brainchild of Seth Myers of SNL and Michael Shoemaker of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”.

They will be followed in the Fall by “The Wrong Mans” produced in partnership with the BBC, “Mother Up” featuring Eva Longoria and “Fugget About It” about a mob boss in witness protection in a small Canadian town.

If all goes as planned, Hulu will offer its viewers 20 original and exclusive series by this time next year. Which would be exactly 20 more than our own CBC plans to debut in the same time frame.

And Hulu’s intention is to double that number to 40 in the year following.

Feeling a little out of your depth and maybe a touch embarrassed Canadian broadcasters?

Wait until you hear what’s coming from Yahoo!, Google and Amazon, to name just three…

Here’s a taste of the Hulu offerings.

Imagine the same commitment to Canadian Content and…

Enjoy Your Sunday.


Anonymous said...

FYI, "Fugget About It" is from Canada's Teletoon and is set in Regina!

jimhenshaw said...

There's mob guys hiding out in my old home town?

I'd be interested to know if it was partly financed by Hulu, who are initiating many of its projects with entities like BBC or is a simple sale. And if it's a sale whether it being a Hulu "exclusive" precludes it from other US platforms.

JPilot said...

I worked on FAI at 9story in Toronto over a year ago. It airs on Teletoon, for a few months now.

Isn't Hulu the biggest geoblocker on the internet? How did you get to watch Hulu in Canada?

jimhenshaw said...


There are some legal or at least semi-legal ways to watch Hulu and American Netflix from Canada. One is a Toronto based subscription site called Unblock-Us.