Hulu Scores BBC North America Deal

Supporting its aggressive content strategy, Hulu has scored a multi-year distribution deal with BBC Worldwide North America. Per the expanded partnership, Hulu is hoping its Plus subscription service will become a key consumption point for BBC programming from “Doctor Who” to “Top Gear.”

“Hulu Plus [is solidifying] its role as a top streaming platform for the best British programming available in the U.S.,” Andy Forssell, acting CEO and senior vice president of Content for Hulu, stated.  

Beth Clearfield, senior vice president of digital distribution at BBC Worldwide North America, is credited with brokering the deal. Additional programs being added to Hulu Plus include “Blue Planet,” “Richard Hammond’s Crash Course,” “Sherlock,” “MI-5,” “Luther,” “Fawlty Towers,” “Twenty Twelve,” “Blackadder,” “Upstairs, Downstairs,” and “Bleak House.”



Additional series are expected to roll out throughout the year, giving Hulu Plus subscribers access to more than 2,000 episodes of new and BBC Worldwide titles. A selection of BBC Worldwide library programs is also expected to rotate through the free service.

In addition to distributing content, Hulu and the BBC have co-produced a number of projects, including the fourth season of “The Thick of It” and the upcoming Hulu original “The Wrong Mans.”

From Netflix to Amazon to Hulu, premium video platforms have realized the best way to stand out is with quality original programming. Trying to hold its own against other new-age TV programmers, Hulu is investing serious resources into original content.

Last month, the joint venture announced a partnership with Lionsgate Television to co-produce "Deadbeat" -- a supernatural comedy series from the same guys who helped create FX’s Wilfred.

By the end of the year, Hulu expects to have launched about 20 titles, including shows like “The Awesomes,” “Quick Draw,” and “Behind the Mask” -- slated for release by late October. Within two years, Hulu will have upwards of 40 titles to its name, Andy Forssell, acting CEO, said this summer.

This year, Hulu also plans to stream several new exclusive shows, including “Run,” a four-part drama about inner city life; “Fugget About It,” an animated sitcom about the misadventures of former mob boss Jimmy Falcone; and “The Strange Calls,” about bizarre late-night phone calls in a place where people turn to chickens and mermen go to the school dance.

Hulu is owned by Walt Disney’s ABC, 21st Century Fox’s Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. The 5-year-old venture offers content from the owners -- both with a free and paid offering -- and has more recently been expanding into original content.

The owners reported that Hulu has 30 million-plus monthly unique visitors, and posted $690 million in revenue last year. Hulu and BBC Worldwide North America began their relationship back in 2010.

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