“We’re really not a network, we’re not a studio, we are a distributor at heart,” Hulu’s acting CEO Andy Forssell told critics in Los Angeles Wednesday. “We’re trying to connect people with content they love, no matter where it comes from.” That content might not fit anywhere else, he said, but it works for Hulu, since the company is able to identify users’ viewership patterns and “help get it to the right people quickly,” he said.
Whereas at its beginnings the company was solely focused on delivering “last night’s TV,” since 2011 its been focused on originals and exclusive acquisitions as well. “For us, that’s all first-window stuff,” he said.
So is there a common thread among its programming? Its not a network, but we “sort of look like a network” for certain shows. “If there’s a theme, it’s that there is no theme, at least at surface level,” Forssell said. “We don’t go out saying, ‘Let’s find a comedy for Thursday night to sit next to this other comedy that we have.’ We go out looking for voices.” The comparisons to traditional networks didn’t stop there. “In a way, you can say we programmed our audience.” And yet, that audience is “really broad,” and includes everyone from octogenarians to expats. “We’ve got people of almost every demo or group.”
What distinguishes Hulu in Forssell’s view is its “treasure hunting” philosophy of unearthing content that features a strong point of view. “We’re trying to find voices for people that bring a point of view with them, and then we have to say, do we have the audience. Can we find the audience for that show, and for that voice.” In 2013, the company will roll out 10 more shows, including “The Wrong Mans” (Nov 11 premiere), a serialized thriller that’s also comedic, “The Awesomes” launching Aug 1, “Quick Draw” (Aug 5), “Behind the Mask” (Oct 29) and the animated comedy “Mother Up!” (Nov 6) with Eva Longoria.