on by in Advertising, Announcements

It’s that time of year again. The smell of nachos is in the air. Grown men will cry…and maybe even paint their faces. Sports fanatics across America will tune in to watch football season go into overdrive on Super Bowl Sunday. But the football field isn’t the only place where there’s a battle going down on game day.

Hulu AdZone, sponsored by Toyota, kicks off today in anticipation of Super Bowl Sunday. This is where the commercials of Super Bowl XLVII will face off in real-time on game day, and your votes will crown the winner.

Watch, share and vote for your favorite Super Bowl ads during the big game. As soon as one team takes home the title of Super Bowl champion on Sunday, Feb. 3, we’ll tally the votes and announce your pick for the best ads of Super Bowl 2013 and share our picks for best celebrity cameos, cutest critters and more.

And if you’re craving another wing or grabbing a cold one during the commercial break and miss that ad that will have everyone talking, have no fear – with the Hulu AdZone mobile experience you can visit hulu.com/adzone from your mobile device to pull up that ad and watch, vote, share, Tweet and “like” it to your heart’s content (you’ll just need a Facebook account to cast your vote).

Start getting in the game day spirit now by browsing through the best commercials of Super Bowls past, and your picks for the best ads of 2012. Be sure to check back as we add teaser and preview ads for 2013 between now and game day.

So while you root for your team on the field, remember to cast your vote and watch the scoreboard on Hulu AdZone!

on by in Advertising, Interviews

Nick Kroll’s been a bro, a cartoon, a female publicist, an Ed Hardy boy, and a stand-up comic. He’s now all of those things, especially that last one, on his own show, Kroll Show.

Kroll Show premieres January 16 on Comedy Central, and you can catch the pilot on Hulu right now.

We decided to talk to Kroll about the whole thing, but here’s a quick primer on a few of the characters you’ll be seeing, before we get started.

Kroll and Jon Daly play Rich Dicks Aspen Bruckheimer and Wendy Shawn.

“Basically leisure has bred all the masculinity out of them,” Kroll says.


Then there’s Bobby Bottleservice—one of the Ed Hardy Boyz, along with a guy named Peter Paparazzo (also played by Jon Daly). The duo solves mysteries, gets girls, and of course, rocks Ed Hardy.

There’s also Liz G, a college graduate who expects the best. She’s the driven one, and her business partner, Liz B. (played by Jenny Slate) is trying to have a life. Together, they run a PR firm called PubLIZity. You’re not going to believe this, but it’s based off of their names.

Then there’s Kroll himself, but we’ll let him explain that.

Hulu: So what’s the show gonna look like?

NK: “A hybrid of sketch and longer-format story-telling. It feels more like you’re watching a collection of mini-series that is very character and story driven more than a classic sketch driven.”

Hulu: What’s first?

NK: A little bit of me as me, talking directly to camera, to get a little of the standup out and give the audience a little sense of who I am.

Hulu: Then?

NK: A bunch of characters. They’re all kinda like loveable losers in some capacity.

Hulu: What was it like playing Stu on “The Life and Times of Tim?”

NK: (Show creator) Steve (Dildarian) had established the character, I just auditioned over the phone for that while I was still living in New York. It’s collaborative in that, like “The League,” there are scripts but a ton of room for improv. So, both with Ruxin (on “The League”) and Stu, the creators did a very nice job of establishing the kind of person they are. Then, through collaborating on writing and improvising in the room I was able to add various layers that seemed funny to me to each character.

I love doing animation stuff. One, it’s incredibly easy. It’s really easy to do in that you don’t have to put on makeup or dress nicely or anything but also you can mess around and find new angles and you’re not wasting anybody’s time. Hopefully, if we do Season 2 of Kroll Show, we would be able to tinker around with some animation.

And doing ”The Life and Times of Tim,” I actually met John Levenstein, who ran the show in Season 2. He ended up as one of the executive producers and showrunner for Kroll Show.

Hulu: So tell me a little bit about “The League” season finale.

NK: All I can say is that there will be some very shocking, shocking occurrences that will…I can guarantee there will be some surprises and I can also guarantee that everyone will be miserable.

Hulu: And how’s the show going overall?

NK: The show obviously has resonated and people seem psyched about it. I can just sense that people are enjoying it.

(Note: The day after our interview the season finale premiered. It was indeed very shocking. And FX announced that the show was picked up for a 5th season.)

Hulu: What’re you watching these days?

NK: I do a lot of what I like to call TV tapas, which is flipping through shows for five to ten minutes at a time. I’ll watch five minutes of “Duck Dynasty” and five minutes of a Korean soap opera and then five minutes of “SportsCenter” and then five minutes of Junior, the movie. I’m watching Season 2 of “Breaking Bad” now. I need to catch up with this whole season of “Homeland.” I watch “Parks and Rec.” I enjoy the Steve Brule show (“Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule”). Beyond all my friends’ shows, which I watch, which are like Paul Scheer’s NTSF on Adult Swim (“NTSF:SD:SUV”) and “Childrens Hospital,” I like “American Masters” on PBS a lot. I grew up watching SNL I still watch a good amount of it. I’ll go to Hulu, actually, and watch it.

Want more of Nick Kroll? See him discuss “Kroll Show” and “The League” with buddy and “The League” costar Paul Scheer here.

on by in Advertising, News

Earlier today, I sent the below email to the Hulu team:

In what is an understatement, this email has proven difficult for me to both write and send.

I’ve decided to depart Hulu in Q1. I am currently working with the Board to ensure there is ample runway to manage this transition.

Rich Tom will be doing the same, with roughly the same departure date. Rich and I have been fortunate to build and innovate alongside each other these past 5+ years and our plan is to do more of that on the road ahead.

It is impossible to state in words how much this team means to me, how much Hulu means to me. But I’ll do my best.

For me, the journey started with a move to California and a walk into an empty office suite in early July 2007. In the weeks afterward, some brave souls that were willing to look past the many naysayers and ClownCo moniker jumped aboard and got about the business of innovating and building. Five and a half years later, thanks to the missionary work of this amazing 600+ worldwide team and courageous, prescient partners, we are fortunate to have collectively built a culture that matters, a brand that matters, a business that matters.  Our convictions and our relentless pursuit of better ways have made the difference and will continue to make the difference. We have grown from a few hundred thousand in revenue in 2007 to generating almost $700 million in revenue in 2012 alone. We have created a video subscription service that is growing unusually fast, adding over 200K new subscribers in the past 7 days alone (a new record). We have proudly generated over $1 Billion for our content partners since we excitedly entered private beta in October 2007. Our video advertising service delivers world-class results and sets the pace for the industry. We have authored scores of inventions along the way.

And while the above outputs are impressive and laudatory, the things that have clearly brought the most joy to my heart (and what I believe to be the most important inputs in our business) have been this team and the values and principles we hold dear.

Perhaps the best way to express this is to let you in on a little routine I have followed these past 5+ years. Each day, as I enter the office lobby, I take the time to enjoy the many portraits of our team members that line the walls. From Damon gorging on a 2 foot high cold cut sandwich to Jesse showing off his sweet kicks. Portraits from Beijing to Boston and the other fine Hulu offices in between. Those portraits – along with the What Defines Hulu? document on those same walls – mean so much to me, as it is a daily and vivid reminder of how great this team is and how we bring such passion and principle to what we do. Without fail, I am reminded in those moments of reflection why we do what we do, why this work is a mission and never a job.

I’ve been so fortunate to play a role in this amazing, ongoing journey. My decision to depart has been one of the toughest I’ve ever made. Though the words will fall short of the intended mark, please know how much this team means to me and how very thankful I am to be able to innovate and build alongside you each day.

As dates and other items get solidified, I will update the team.  But in the meantime and for much of Q1, I will be here as we get off to a very strong start in 2013…

Jason

on by in Advertising, Best of 2012

(The ten best dramas of 2012 will be revealed on Hulu’s homepage each weekday of this week. To view the rest of the list, click here.)

7 – The Walking Dead

Is there any show more shocking than The Walking Dead? With the amount of characters that have ended up dead this year, we consider ourselves lucky that we survived. We know that shows about dystopian futures where the undead walk the earth aren’t supposed to be laugh riots, but this year who knew how much the show would make us hate the living?

Over Seasons 2 and 3 this year, we saw the group who had worked so hard to remain civilized in their hopes that the zombie plague soon shall pass just lose it, and revert to their basest instincts…and we loved it. Outsiders were not to be trusted, but neither were people you thought you knew. We knew that Merle had unresolved issues in which the group played a hand (We couldn’t help it. We’re sorry), but who expected the down spiral and ultimate demise of Shane? For a moment we thought that civilization could thrive again when we saw the idyllic community of Woodbury, but the Governor has issues, not to mention aquariums filled with zombie heads and his zombie daughter locked up in a closet, and we doubt Andrea can change him. Sorry, Andrea.

And who could have seen the deaths of two of the most vital characters: Dale, the show’s moral compass, and Lori, the show’s chief loser of Carl? When Rick passed out after learning of his wife’s death, it became clear that no one was truly safe anymore, all bets are off and what hope does any one of the survivors truly have?

And then there were the walkers! First of all, how cute is it that every new group we encounter has a different name for the zombies? We look forward to a time when we meet a group who calls the zombies “The Fergusons” as a dark inside joke they refuse to share with Rick because he won’t let them stay in the prison. Secondly, we remember way back in the beginning of Season 2 how our friends complained about the lack of zombie attacks, but the undead are now back in full squirming effect. We seriously have not been able to sit still while we fruitlessly attempt to warn the characters about the zombie about to attack them to the point that our cat is concerned.

Well, that’s one of the reasons our cat is concerned, but that’s for another time.

The more we watch The Walking Dead, the more we can’t help comparing it to Lost. Hear us out. Both shows have groups of strangers thrust together in a world that no longer makes sense to them, in which survival becomes paramount. But while we spent six seasons of Lost learning more and more about the island, with each new season of The Walking Dead, we learn more and more about humanity and the depths to which it will descend in the undead face of the Armageddon, which, we’re learning, is more satisfying…not to mention more helpful should the zombie apocalypse happen. We’re just kidding…when the zombie apocalypse happens.—Martin Moakler

on by in Advertising, Announcements

We are closing on a big 2012. On behalf of the Hulu team, I would like to share some of our results. We’re so thankful to our customers and for the trust they place in us each day, which is enabling us to deliver the below results.

Revenue. In 2012, we will close the year with approximately $695 million in revenue. Hulu’s revenues will have grown over 65%, which is an acceleration over 2011 growth levels. Revenues from our first 5 years:

Hulu Plus. We have more than 3 million paying Hulu Plus subscribers. The number of Hulu Plus subscribers has more than doubled over the past year. Our subscribers from the past two years (we exited private beta and officially launched in November 2010):

In 2012, Hulu Plus was released on Apple TV, Nintendo Wii and Wii U, Windows 8 tablets, and a slew of new Android tablets and phones. Hulu Plus can now be accessed from more than 320 million Internet connected devices in the U.S. (not including laptop and desktop computers). We released next generation user experiences—to great response—across the web, on gaming consoles, and on Android tablets and phones.

Content. Throughout 2012, we aggressively grew our Hulu and Hulu Plus title offerings by over 40%, making us an increasingly valuable partner for our three customers (viewers, advertisers and content partners). We now have more than 430 content partners, providing over 60,000 TV episodes, 2,300 TV series, and 50,000 hours of video on Hulu and Hulu Plus. In 2012, we invested more than $500 million in content. Since the launch of Hulu in October 2007, we have generated over $1 billion for our content partners.

One of the highlights from our 2012 content investment is the launch of Hulu Kids on Hulu Plus. With this launch—and our expanded content partnership with Viacom—Hulu Plus has become the only online video subscription service with current season content from Nickelodeon. Hulu Plus now offers current season episodes from more than 235 of the most popular television series on TV in the U.S., and over 40 series on TV from across the globe…something no other online video service offers. We launched more than 25 Hulu Exclusive and Original Series combined, and signed new agreements with the likes of CBS and WWE, just to name a few. We are extremely proud of the TV series we released in 2012, and are excited about the slate of original series and exclusive series coming to Hulu in 2013.

Advertising. Our advertising mission is to be the world’s most effective video advertising service, and we are well on our way. We continue to expand the number of advertisers we serve. In 2012, we served more than 1,000 advertisers, 28% more than last year. Our advertising service consistently sets the standard in online video advertising, including our practice to only charge advertisers when their ad has been streamed through completion.

Hulu Japan.  Our subscription service in Japan continues to ramp.  Our content offering has quadrupled over the past 12 months. Hulu Japan is now accessible from more than 50 million Internet connected devices in Japan (not counting laptops or desktop computers), thanks to releases on Apple TV, Nintendo Wii, Wii U, and over 40 Android mobile phones and tablets in 2012. As a result of the above inputs, we are attracting paying subscribers to the Hulu service in Japan at a volume that is more than triple our December 2011 levels.

When it comes to building things that matter, most entrepreneurs hope to have the good timing and the good fortune to find and ride (and ideally shape) one massive wave. At Hulu, we are doubly fortunate in that we are at the crest of two massive waves that we believe will persist for the long term: the rise of online video advertising and the rise of online video subscription services.

As we’ve built and grown Hulu since the summer of 2007, so much has changed along the way from building our first website to now generating almost $700 million in revenue this year. There has been one constant, however, which is the Hulu culture; it is what defines us. Ours is a culture of obsessing over our customers, insisting on atypically high quality (to the point that most reasonable people will think that our standards are too high), and relentlessly pursuing better ways in all that we do. For Hulu, culture is the input that matters most.

On behalf of the team, please know how grateful we are to you, our customers, for your belief in us and for the privilege to innovate each day.

Jason Kilar
jason@hulu.com
CEO, Hulu