Hulu Plus recently announced a great addition of titles to the ‘Hulu Kids!’ banner of its subscription service. A new roster of series from studios like Sesame Workshop, Nickelodeon, Jim Henson Family TV, and PBS Kids were added last week, including a few Spanish-language titles.
Hulu has been trying to expand its offerings in an effort to boost its subscription revenue. After co-owners Disney, 21st Century Fox, and NBCUniversal decided not to sell the company this past summer, the owners have invested hundreds of millions of dollars towards developing the platform, both in its technology and content. Looking forward, I’d say they either want to make it more attractive for a higher bid in the future, or maybe even let it go public. Just look at how well Netflix has done after taking this route.
And with Netflix becoming the huge powerhouse that it has, and Amazon Prime trying really hard to get in the game too, Hulu needs to keep upping the ante if it wants to compete. Bottom line: this means creating original content and buying up the rights to stream highly popular content.
But what’s really interesting about this most recent addition is that it’s all in children’s programming. Yes, the competition is doing it too (see the Disney-Netflix deal), but what does this say about the position of children’s content as a whole right now? In a blog posted on Hulu’s website, Rodrigo Mazon, who works in Content Acquisitions for Hulu Latino, writes:
Kids are starting to take control of their viewing – they know what they love to watch, and once they find that favorite show or character, they’re hooked, and they’ll watch it over and over and over again.
Now look. I’m all about kids watching television, but I find this kind of mindset a little troublesome. I don’t know that it was the smartest move for a Hulu representative to give parents — the ones he’s trying to convince to pay the subscription fee — the image of their children mindlessly sitting in front of the television for hours on end. Children’s programming should be a tool for the child’s development, not ‘baby’s first addiction’.
Whether this will give much of a boost to revenue remains to be seen. A lot of the additions were gathered with non-exclusive deals, so the series can already be seen on platforms like Netflix. But with its connection to current traditional programming, forays into original series, multilingual commitments, and now a wider selection of children’s content, Hulu is definitely becoming a major player in the game.