Hulu Lands WWE Exclusivity, Key Male Audience
In the fight for exclusive content contracts, Hulu just landed the wrestling equivalent of an atomic backbreaker.
Now, if fans want full online access to World Wrestling Entertainment programming, they have to go through Hulu Plus.
For Hulu, the deal equates to a massive amount of new content and closer ties to a young male audience and the advertisers that love them.
A Hulu representative told Online Media Daily on Monday that the company wasn't ready to address the ad implications of the deal -- “but we're eager to reach the passionate, predominantly male audience that WWE has built.”
Effective immediately, Hulu Plus subscribers now have access to WWE programming, including "Monday Night Raw," "Friday Night SmackDown," "WWE NXT," "WWE Superstars," "WWE Main Event" and "WWE en Espanol."
With the exit of co-owner Providence Equity Partners, there has been wide speculation over the future of Hulu, its existing licensing agreements and its ability to maintain exclusivity over some of its content.
Wrangling WWE into an exclusive multiyear agreement is obviously a step in the right direction, but questions remain over Hulu’s long-term prospects. Disney, News Corp. and Comcast are expected to retain full ownership of Hulu in the absence of Providence Equity, which had 10% of the video venture.
Earlier this year, Hulu Plus said it had more than 2 million paying subscribers, each of whom pays $7.99 a month for the service.
Trailing Google Sites, BrightRoll and Adapt.tv, Hulu was responsible for serving 1.1 billion in August, according to comScore. Hulu, however, delivered the highest frequency of video ads to its viewers with an average of 51, while Google Sites delivered an average of 19 ads per viewer.
Going forward, Hulu Plus subscribers can access WWE content via mobile phone, tablet, PC, Web-connected TV, set-top box and gaming console.