Hulu ‘evaluating’ foreign markets, eyes film

Hulu aims to make a “big step forward” in its film offering and is “evaluating” international markets for potential launches, according to CEO Mike Hopkins.

Speaking at MIPCOM today, Hopkins said that Hulu planned to increase the amount of film content on its streaming service, following its recent deal to secure exclusive movies from premium pay network Epix.

“The number one category of programming that our customers were telling us that we were lacking in was films. We really looked at that as an opportunity to take a big step forwards in our offering,” said Hopkins.

“We have the Criterion collection and we have some smaller output deals around it, but I think we’re going to be a little more aggressive over time in terms of increasing the wealth of films and the volume of films that we have.”

Appearing onstage for a keynote session alongside Lionsgate’s president, worldwide television and digital distribution, Jim Packer, Hopkins also revealed that Hulu was looking at opportunities outside its US home market – though has no concrete expansion plans.

“We’re evaluating the markets. We don’t have any plans at the moment to expand internationally, but it’s clearly a growing market,” he said. “When you look at the adoption, when you look at the broadband penetration, when you look at this array of devices that are being adopted in every market around the world it’s definitely compelling as something that we will look at,” said Hopkins.

Hulu launched in Japan in 2011, marking its first international rollout, but in 2014 it sold the Japanese division to Nippon TV, which assumed the day-to-day operations and management of the business.

Film-wise, Hulu closed its agreement with Epix at the end of August after the latter’s agreement with Netflix ended with no new deal. Under the agreement all new Epix theatrical releases and original programmes will be made available 90 days on Hulu after the pay TV window opens. In the past year, Hulu has also scored deals with the likes of IFC Films.