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Upfront and Personal: Hulu CEO confirms live OTT streaming service coming in 2017

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Upfront and Personal: Hulu CEO confirms live OTT streaming service coming in 2017

executives talked up "TheBeatles: Eight Days a Week" as the first entry into its new documentary filmunit, while also addressing the 800-pound gorilla in the room at its upfront.

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Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins
Source: Hulu

CEO MikeHopkins confirmed to media buyers at the streaming company's May 4 presentationat Theater at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan that Hulu will proffer a live-TVpackage, including sports and entertainment, in 2017. The company, owned by , and has been in with its parent companies and othersto contribute content to the planned over-the-top service.

"We'regoing to fuse the best of linear TV and on-demand, in a deeply personalized experience,"Hopkins said, without providing details.

In themeantime, Hulu plans on giving its subscribers — which Hopkins said will number12 million in May, a 30% bump from last year — more original and acquired content.It is also committed to supplying advertisers with better data for their messagesto reach engaged viewers. The CEO said most subscribers continue to choose Hulu's$7.99 monthly plan with ads instead of the commercial-free $11.99 option last September.

Hopkinsalso said that hours per viewer grew 30% year over year, while total streams soared78%.

Muchof the activity is taking place in the living room, with upward of 70% occurringon the big screen, facilitated via smart TV and connected devices.

Huluwants to better target these viewers as Peter Naylor, senior vice president of advertisingsales, said that 84% of subscribers are in the advertiser-friendly, 18- to-49 demoand the service's median age customer is 33.

Naylornoted the company will become the first streaming service to deliver interactivead units created for the living room by partnering with BrightLine. A quick demoat the upfront showed clickable, Web-style pages on the TV screen. Havas Media isthe exclusive charter agency for the new product, which is expected to bow thissummer.

Nayloralso discussed a new collaboration with NielsenHoldings that will for the first time enable digital ad measurementin the living room across all Hulu-enabled, connected-TV devices. Via the partnership,Hulu said it will be able to deliver an accurate measure of viewership beyond thecomputer for sponsors on a campaign-level basis.

Additionally,Hulu announced it will begin to provide increased advertising effectiveness insightsand tools through a new partnership with market research firm, Millward Brown. Thepartnership will deliver studies, research papers and stats, including brand affinitymetrics for marketers and advertisers that will span across OTT environments. TheMagna Global unit of the InterpublicGroup of Cos. Inc., with clients, including Aveeno, BMW and Coca-Cola,will be the beta partners at launch.

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Hulu has ordered a fifth season of The Mindy Project

Source: Hulu

On thecontent side, Hulu reported that its most-watched acquisition to date has been 's "Fear the WalkingDead," while that network's "Preacher" will soon be coming to theservice as well, according to Craig Erwich, Hulu senior vice president and headof content.

As fororiginals, Hulu has commissioned a fifth campaign of "The Mindy Project."Hulu previously ordered season four of the Mindy Kaling comedy following its cancellationby FOX (US). Acclaimeddrama "The Path," starring Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan and Hugh Dancy,completing its first season on May 25, will return for a sophomore run.

Huluhas also voted for a second election special from "Triumph, the Insult ComicDog" that will debut exclusively on the service in time for the November elections.

Alsogetting the sizzle reel treatment and on-stage appearance were comedies "Casual"(Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins, Tara Lynne Barr) and "Difficult People"(executive producer Amy Poehler, Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner). The latter twowere particularly snarky with Eichner eliciting appropriate laughs from the assembledagency folk by saying "The N-word at this upfront is Netflix Inc."

Upcomingshows include: "Shut Eye," starring Jeffrey Donovan and KaDee Strickland,a dark comedy examining the underground world of storefront psychics in Los Angeles,and "Chance," based on Kem Nunn's novel and orbiting Hugh Laurie as EldonChance, a San Francisco-based forensic neuro-psychiatrist who, after an ill-adviseddecision regarding a beautiful patient, gets sucked into a dangerous world of mistakenidentity, police corruption and mental illness. Donovan, Strickland and Laurie toldattendees the shows would make their respective debuts on Hulu in August and October.

The recentlyannounced adaptation of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" starringElisabeth Moss, was also trumpeted.

Afterintroducing virtual reality fare in March, Hulu will look to put viewers on stageand behind the curtain via a pact with LiveNation Entertainment Inc. Performers and events will be announced ata later date.

Speakingof performance, Ron Howard's "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week," which isslated to bow in theaters and on Hulu this fall, will focus on the first part ofthe Fab Four's career from 1962-66, when they were will still a touring band. Thefilm — the first entry to fly under the Hulu Documentary Film banner that will featureoriginal and exclusive genre titles — features rare and exclusive performance andconcert footage, and is produced with the cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr,Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.

Sir Pauland Howard appeared on video to tout the film, a clip from which showcased "Twistand Shout" from Manchester, England, circa 1964. Attendees exited the eventto the sounds of "A Hard Day's Night."