The news spinning around Hulu hasn't been positive lately, with increasing competition and rumors of a change in business model, but CEO Jason Kilar's latest blog post tells a different side of the story. First, after popular choices like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report were unceremoniously yanked back in April it has a new deal with Viacom that's bringing those shows back to Hulu and Hulu Plus starting today, with episodes of current shows like Jersey Shore and Tosh.0 showing up 21 days after they air. Strictly for the pay subscribers, library episodes of The Chappelle Show and others will show up on Hulu Plus.
As for the future of the business, he sees Hulu as able to serve trends giving customers more convenient video access with less ads and more social media presence -- a goal we can get behind, but that may leave content providers wondering how they'll get paid in this shiny new world. To that end he's touting the growth of Hulu's ad revenue as seen in the chart after the break and the rising number of Hulu Plus subscribers with a promise to hit 1 million this year. While that's well behind Netflix's most recent count, he's taking a new shot at the throne by claiming Hulu can afford to pay more for content and that studios should start signing deals on per-user, per-month basis instead of the flat rates Netflix has negotiated so far. Give the full thing a read to get a better idea of where Jason's head is at (when he's not planning a GTL run, check the pr after the break for more details on that), we'll be busy watching Jon Stewart's interview with Michael Steele.
Update: Peter Kafka over All Things Digital has word that the deal cost Hulu somewhere between $40m and $50m -- and that sum could increase depending upon the shows' performance.
Show full PR text
Hulu and Viacom Announce Content Partnership
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" Return to Hulu.com
Current and Archive shows from Viacom Networks, including Comedy Central, MTV, BET, VH1, Spike TV and TV Land Now Available on Hulu Plus
LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK - February 2, 2011 - Hulu and Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) today announced a new content partnership that will return "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" to Hulu.com and bring many popular TV shows from Viacom's media networks, including Comedy Central, MTV, BET, VH1, Spike TV, and TV Land to the Hulu Plus subscription service.
Under the agreement, current full episodes and clips of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report will be available on the free ad-supported Hulu.com service and through the Hulu Plus subscription service beginning February 2, 2011. In addition, Viacom will make available to Hulu Plus subscribers a selection of current programs, like Jersey Shore, Tosh.0, Teen Mom 2, Manswers, Let's Stay Together, and Hot in Cleveland 21 days after they air. Viacom content availability on Hulu Plus will vary on a show-by-show basis
Additionally, Hulu Plus subscribers will have access to more than 2,000 episodes of programming from Viacom's library, including The Chappelle Show, Reno 911, Beavis & Butthead, Real World, Punk'd, Baldwin Hills and many others on PCs, internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, set-top boxes, mobile phones, and tablets (in HD when available).
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Philippe Dauman, President and CEO of Viacom, said, "We are very pleased to partner with Hulu in a way that recognizes the value of our strong brands and the passionate young fans who are attracted to our content. The Hulu Plus service offers us the opportunity to connect with our audiences through an exciting subscription and ad supported platform that is complementary to our existing distribution arrangements. This innovative agreement allows us to benefit from the success and expansion of Hulu and we look forward to bringing our popular content to their growing audience."
"We are thankful that Viacom was DTS," said Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu, "Our first order of business in the partnership is GTL with Philippe and his team."
Viacom is home to the world's premier entertainment brands. Through its BET Networks, MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures divisions, Viacom connects with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms in more than 160 countries and territories. With approximately 170 media networks reaching more than 600 million global subscribers, Viacom's leading brands include MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, BET, CENTRIC, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Nicktoons, Nick at Nite, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV Land, Spike TV and Tr3s. Paramount Pictures, America's oldest film studio and creator of many of the most beloved motion pictures, continues today as a major global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment. Viacom operates more than 500 branded digital media properties, including several of the world's most popular destinations for entertainment, community and casual online gaming. For more information about Viacom and its businesses, visit www.viacom.com.
Hulu is an online TV service whose mission is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how they want it. As we pursue this mission, we aspire to create a service that users, advertisers and content owners unabashedly love. Hulu was founded in 2007 and is operated independently by a dedicated team with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Beijing. NBC Universal, News Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, Providence Equity Partners, and the Hulu team share in the ownership of the company. (www.hulu.com)