Posted by Yonatan Sela on November 2, 2011
Hulu Plus is hot property right now. The American video subscription service recently passed 1 million subscribers faster than predicted and has begun its expansion into new markets with its launch in Japan.
The continued success of the on demand video platform is certainly making a strong case for the future of Pay OTT TV. Interest shown by big names such as Google, Amazon and Dish Network when the owners of Hulu proposed selling the service is evidence that industry leaders recognise the investment potential of a compelling Pay OTT TV service.
Hulu’s current owners seem to agree with them. They eventually pulled the sale because they believed that the service had a “unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners.” So, for the time being, Hulu & Hulu Plus will remain in the hands of Fox, Disney/ABC and NBC Universal.
Johannes Larcher, Senior VP International at Hulu has spelt out the opportunities that paid video services like Hulu Plus presents for content owners. “If you make it easier to consume content on different devices in the on-demand environment, one thing always happens: people watch more content. Technologies like ours will lead to more effective ways to monetize content, so there will be greater returns for content owners.”
While the original over-the-top Hulu service, launched in 2007 and supported by ads, remains free to users who want to access limited amounts of content from its catch up and VOD libraries, Hulu has locked the service to the PC. The launch of Hulu Plus three years later means that it now offers consumers the opportunity to access even more content and, more importantly, consume that content across a range of different devices. Users who pay the $7.99/month can delve into the back catalogues of their favourite TV shows through their connected TV sets in High Definition quality, as well as on connected set-top boxes, smartphones and tablets. Most recently they made the Pay OTT TV service available on the Nintendo 3DS handheld console.
With an attractive profitable Pay OTT TV proposition Hulu can now look towards expanding into new global markets. In Japan – Hulu’s first venture beyond American shores – only the Hulu Plus version of its platform is offered. From this move it is clear that the paid subscription format is set to be a main driver in its global business strategy and a key part of the future business model for the company.
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