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Binge Viewers Rejoice at Hulu Decision

Binge Viewers Rejoice at Hulu Decision

If you are someone who enjoys watching an entire season of your favorite television shows “all at once,” you can’t help but be giddy over Hulu’s decision to offer complete seasons of as many as 20 series this year.

This assumes, of course, that your favorite shows consist of original programming produced by Hulu. It also assumes you subscribe to Hulu Plus. Viewers on Hulu’s free service will have to wait each week for a new episode, according to Bloomberg.

Hulu LLC, jointly owned by The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) said Wednesday that the new plan would kick off November 11 when six episodes of The Wrong Mans become available to Hulu Plus subscribers.

Bloomberg reported that Andy Forssell, Hulu acting chief executive officer, told reporters, “With that show, it’s so easy to binge watch.” Adding, “We think it will be a good opportunity to draw subscribers to Hulu Plus.”

Hulu isn’t the only online service to offer binge viewing. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) already releases entire seasons of new programs at once, most recently with its new series, Orange is the New Black, according to The Daily Beast.

According to acting CEO, Forssell, releasing 20 series this year is only the start. Plans are to increase that to 40 within two years. When possible, Hulu plans to release all episodes of a new show on Hulu Plus, its $8 a month premium service.

Annual revenue at Hulu doubled last year to $690 million, resulting in the owners canceling a sale of the service and deciding, instead, to invest $750 million to attract new viewers and launch a full blown challenge to other services like Netflix.

Related: Hulu Sale Inches Closer as DirecTV, AT&T and Others Quietly Bid

The binge offerings are designed, in part, to increase subscriptions and revenue to the Hulu Plus side of the business, which despite the fact it has more than four million subscribers, loses money.

If the plan is successful, Hulu Plus could be profitable in 18 months, a person familiar with the company told Bloomberg. Hulu’s free service, which is supported by ads and attracts 30 million visitors a month, already makes a profit, the source said.

In addition to the new binge offerings, and in order to become even more competitive, Hulu plans to increase its involvement in collaborating with others to produce exclusive programming, Forssell said.

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.


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