Hulu's Growth Strategy: Break Through The Culture Clutter

Hulu is riding high.

The streaming service announced that it surpassed 25 million subscribers in 2018 earlier this week, and during a live-streamed keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hulu CMO Kelly Campbell expanded on what the company is doing to keep that momentum going into 2019.

Campbell said that the company has launched an internal “Culture Lab,” tasked with “finding those moments that make sense for our brand to engage in a moment, or a movement, or to start one.”

As an example, Campbell pointed to the company’s latest brand campaign, which stars the actors Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello. The company had the up-and-coming rapper Trippie Redd appear in the background of a scene. He didn’t have any speaking parts, and the company never noted his presence in a press release, but Campbell says “the amount of social buzz [around his appearance] was comparable to Joe and Sophia.”

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Hulu is betting that maintaining a presence in popular culture will keep the company top-of-mind.

Another priority for Hulu is the product. Hulu’s content library is enormous, but consumers must be able to find new shows or easily upgrade to higher tiers.

“We have a responsibility to help consumers discover new shows,” Campbell said, adding the window to deliver a new show idea to a consumer is around 30 seconds, before they turn elsewhere.

Likewise, Hulu is embracing the idea of upgrading or downgrading services depending on the season.

Consumers that care about March Madness basketball could be encouraged to upgrade to the company’s Hulu with Live TV product around that time, then would be free to drop down to the on-demand tier when summer comes. Similarly, consumers that only watch HBO for “Game of Thrones” could add it to their subscription when the show returns for a new season.

There is also the education factor. Hulu with Live TV offers what is essentially the same suite of channels as cable TV, but delivered via streaming.

“There is still a real anxiety there, moving from cable to streaming,” Campbell says. Some consumers are still worried about things like picture quality and having it “just work.”

The company’s new marketing campaigns are meant to help relieve those concerns and push unsure consumers tinto buying the new service.

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