While Netflix is currently the king of streaming services, Hulu is taking steps to ensure that it remains firmly in the conversation, and part of that process involves distancing itself from Netflix’s current release model. For the most part, Hulu has previously unleashed its original series on the world by offering up whole seasons at a time, but it’s completely changing that for the future, where it will adhere to the more traditional TV format of weekly episode releases.
Hulu is entering a peak time in its existence, with a growing slate of hilarious original comedies soon to be complemented by high-profile new dramas and Season 4 of fan favorite The Mindy Project, which it acquired from Fox post-cancelation. And Hulu’s senior vice president of content Craig Erwich pointed out at this year’s TCA press event that the company is now more interested in keeping these series on the minds of viewers for as long as possible, rather than them just being a quick flash in the pop culture pan. Here’s how he put it.
We want to give viewers an opportunity to discover their favorite shows every week. Like you, we value the shared experience and the joy of the water cooler experience that is television. We want to give you, the writers, time to discover and hopefully celebrate these shows as well.
While that news is certainly a bummer for viewers who have fully embraced the binge-ready revolution, it makes a good amount of sense from a content provider’s standpoint. Netflix series always have a good amount of promotional campaigning pre-release, but then it all seems to peter away relatively quickly after the show hits. The hardcore fans imbibe and discuss immediately, leaving those who discover shows later with less of an arena to celebrate their enjoyment. Putting viewers back on a week-to-week viewing schedule should help to keep Hulu’s content relevant for longer.
This transition will also help close the gap between the releases of new shows. According to THR, Erwich also shared that putting out episodes weekly means that Hulu will no longer have to wait until an entire season of a series is complete before getting it out there, so the service will be able to have new shows in front of peepers on a more timely basis. Imagine if Netflix had done this with its Marvel slate, so that each new show premiered a week or two after the last one ended.
Beyond its growing list of acquired shows – like Empire, Fear the Walking Dead and Seinfeld – Hulu has quite a few potential hits coming. The beyond amazing Difficult People, starring Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner, debuted its first two episodes last week, and we’ll soon be seeing Season 2 of Hotwives of Orlando, Jason Katims’ star-studded faith-based drama The Way, Jason Reitman’s dysfunctional family comedy Casual and the J.J. Abrams-produced drama 11/22/63, adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name.