Hulu adds Fargo and other cable shows, looks more like Netflix

Hulu doesn’t want to leave all the good shows to Netflix and Amazon: The streaming video services has signed deals with 20th Century Fox and MGM to make Hulu the exclusive subscription home for a number of shows, including Fargo, Taboo and The Comedians. However, the deals are also make Hulu look a lot more like its competitors, and less like the catch-up service we are used to.

The deal with 20th Century Fox brings a number of FX Networks and FXX shows to Hulu, including Tyrant, The Strain, Married and You’re the Worst, all of which are set to become available on Hulu before the second season airs on TV. The service also secured the rights to a bunch of shows scheduled to launch on the two networks in 2015, including a comedy series starring Billy Crystal called The Comedians, a drama called Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll starring Denis Leary and a drama called Taboo from executive producer Ridley Scott. All of those shows will also come to Hulu only after the first season concludes on TV.

The MGM deal exclusively brings the first season of the hit mini series Fargo to Hulu, with episodes coming to the service just before the second season hits FX in fall of 2015. The deal also adds the History channel’s Vikings show, as well as a bunch of catalog fare, including “thousands of episodes” from shows like Stargate Universe, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate: SG-1, Flipper, Adams Family, Dead Like Me and others, according to a post on the Hulu blog.

There’s a common thread throughout those announcements, and I’m not talking about the fact that most of this stuff aired on FX. Most of the content that comes to Hulu through these deals will only be available to paying Hulu Plus subscribers, and none of it is available in-season. So if you are looking to catch up on a show that aired on FX last night, you’re out of luck. Instead, Hulu will offer everything after a whole season aired on TV, in a binge-friendly fashion.

Sounds familiar? That’s because this is essentially the Netflix model. Netflix has long concentrated on full previous seasons, and only very rarely offered a catch-up experience (the release of Breaking Bad in the U.K. was one of those rare exceptions from the rule). Hulu on the other hand started out primarily as a catch-up service, promising access to shows long before they ended up on Netflix.

But in recent seasons, networks have severely curtailed next-day access on Hulu. ABC, Fox and the CW network already delay access to their content for users for eight days after a show airs on TV. FX shows are only available in season to users who sign in with their pay TV credentials — even Hulu Plus subscribers only have access to previous seasons. Bravo posts episodes of its shows often after multiple weeks, and only gives users who sign in with their pay TV information access to next-day content.

As next-day catch-up becomes more of an exception than the rule on Hulu, the service is clearly putting a bigger emphasis on Netflix-like binge-watching. Fargo and the other content announced this week is just the latest reminder that Hulu’s identity is evolving.

Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story come to Apple TV with FX Now app

Apple TV users can now catch up on episodes from shows like Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story and Archer, thanks to a new FX Now app that was added to the device Tuesday. The app offers catch-up content from shows from FX, FXX and FXM, but only if you also have these channels as part of your cable line-up, and are customer of a participating pay TV provider. FX Now has already been available on Xbox One, iOS, Windows 8 and the web, and is set to come to Roku soon.

It’s a battle of the binge between Netflix and FX
We all love binge viewing — but not everyone loves Netflix: FX and Turner are looking to get the rights to stream entire seasons of shows, as opposed to just the last five episodes, to allow their viewers more binging. Netflix is opposed to those demands, and studios have learned to love Netfix’s cash. But which role is cable playing in all of this? Vulture has a fascinating story about one of Hollywood’s next battle lines.

For basic cable, movies fend off cord-cutting, report says

As basic cable original series prove to be important product differentiators for over-the-top services like Netflix, some of the networks that produce these shows are actually relying more on high-priced theatrical movie acquisitions to maintain or increase their subscriber counts and drive ad revenue

Frontier aggregates 700,000+ videos on TumTiki

Frontier Communications is trying to find new ways to provide value to subscribers and is rolling out one of the most comprehensive video portals online. With TumTiki, Frontier is bringing together more than 700,000 video assets from a combination of traditional broadcast TV and online sources.

Want to make a show more social? Start with the script

We usually think of social TV when a show hits the air and viewers start tweeting about it and sharing moments on Facebook. But to leverage social media for TV promotion, networks need to think about how the campaign will fit in to the content itself.

Vid-Biz: Project Canvas, DISH Network, FX

Canvas’ Biggest Threat Is Happening In Las Vegas Right Now; the BBC’s biggest challenge for its set-top-box project may be winning over TV makers who are already launching their own standards and services for internet-based content. (paidContent)

DISH Network Goes Over the Top with NeuLion; the companies announced a multi-year partnership to distribute certain DISH Network international channels using NeuLion’s television broadband service to consumers without access to satellite TV. (Broadband TV News)

FX Near TV Deal for Avatar; News Corp. is near a deal to sell the commercial TV rights to Avatar to cable network FX, with a price tag that could be north of $25 million over several years. (LA Times)

Panasonic CTO: We Need 3DTV to Pull Out of Slump; Eisuke Tsuyuzaki said Panasonic and other industry manufacturers are banking on the revenue opportunity represented by 3DTV. (Multichannel News)

LG Adds Orange Content to French TVs; the companies have signed a three-year deal to offer a content and services portal for LG internet-enabled TVs to be sold in France. (paidContent:UK)

Intel CEO Says Soon We’ll All Be Making 3-D Videos; Paul Otellini said 3-D technology will filter into the mainstream, turning us all into 3-D videographers. (VentureBeat)

RealD Aligns with Sony, JVC, Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic and DIRECTV for 3-D TV; the company announced agreements with top consumer electronics makers to support the stereoscopic RealD Format for the delivery and display of high definition 3-D in the home. (press release)

Canal+ Preps 3-D Channel; French premium TV broadcaster is preparing the launch of a dedicated 3D channel later this year, with some trials already taking place. (Broadband TV News)

How the Web Is Changing TV’s Definition of a Hit

While revenue from time-shifted TV distribution can only account for part of a monetization strategy, the economics of television are changing for the cheaper, was the message from a group of production executives at the Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit yesterday.

“It used to be the hits would pay for the losers, now not so much,” said Marc Graboff, the chairman of NBC (s GE).

Instead, shows like The Office, The Biggest Loser, Prison Break and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are successful based on different factors: strong advertiser support, cheap production costs, online popularity, and international and DVD sales.

Of course, it’s not only increased flexibility of consumption that is driving TV economics down; advertisers just aren’t ponying up like they used to. However the TV execs on the panel said they are none too comfortable with the current state of digital and DVR distribution, especially since measurement techniques are lagging viewership.
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