While other services tout the acquisition of big-name library content, Hulu remains focused on the bigger picture, Craig Erwich SVP, originals at Hulu, said at winter TCA in Pasadena, Calif.
“One show does not make a service. What’s important for us is to have product and offering that offers as many shows as possible. We’re focused on total engagement—do we have enough content for somebody to watch when they want to watch? Do we have enough content to satisfy various moods people have over the course of the day?”
Hulu, which is now essentially fully owned by Disney, will continue to offer “flexibility, choice and control” through its subscription packages and content, Erwich says. He also believes that exclusivity is only important when it comes to original content in order for Hulu to build its brand among other competitors.
“Success in streaming is not just about how many people watched this show or how many awards or how much you paid for this library series,” Erwich said. “Those are fleeting moments. It’s about building a consistent brand.”
That brand comprises shows like WuTang Clan: An American Saga and Dollface, both of which have been renewed for second seasons. Most recently, it also includes FX on Hulu, the partnership that puts new and existing FX original content exclusively on the streamer.
“When you look at the powerful content of these two brands, both of which strive for excellence, it’s a program offering unlike what anyone else has,” Erwich said.
Hillary, the documentary about the former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, will lend itself to Hulu’s growing unscripted slate of content. Clinton says the project required nearly 35 hours of interviewing, which led to self-reflection about her position in the public eye.
“Perhaps I could have or should have found better ways to present myself or deal with the misperceptions that were out there,” Clinton said.
“I was constantly being surprised how things that I said were taken. That caused me to become even more cautious and more guarded, [I felt like] if I say anything it will be misinterpreted. It becomes a vicious cycle. That was really humbling.”
Little Fires Everywhere, an adaptation of the 2017 novel of the same name, also will join Hulu’s programming slate this spring. The series, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood, Hulu says.
The series comes after Witherspoon garnered Golden Globe nominations for her roles in HBO’s Big Little Lies and Apple TV+’s The Morning Show. Witherspoon says that casting choices used to be made for her; however, the growth of streaming and her choice to open her own production company, Hello Sunshine, has expanded her opportunities.
“I didn’t see a place to exist within the industry. There wasn’t a spectrum of storytelling for women that was represented in the world we live in,” she said.
High Fidelity, another female-fronted Hulu series that’s a retelling of the best-selling novel by Nick Hornby, will premiere Feb. 14. Hulu released the official trailer on Friday, along with the trailer for Normal People, a modern-day love story based on Sally Rooney’s eponymous novel; and the date announcement for The Great, a “historically-inaccurate” comedy about Catherine the Great. Check them out here: