Hulu’s Koh Looks for ‘Truly Ambitious’ Shows

NEW YORK — A little more than three years after the launch of subscription service Hulu Plus, Charlotte Koh, head of development, Hulu originals, said original programming is becoming a more important part of the over-the-top service’s day-today business.

“We are continuing to move in the direction of advantaging the Plus product through more content, better content, sooner,” Koh said here in a Next TV Summit interview with Broadcasting & Cable editor in chief Melissa Grego. “In general, the philosophy over time will be to use the free service in a way that helps people understand that there is a value added if you’re a pay subscriber.”

Koh preceded the conversation with a presentation offering a snapshot of where Hulu is. She said the service is available on 5 million devices across multiple platforms, including Chromecast, gaming consoles and Roku settops. More than half (59%) of Hulu’s streams now come through living-room devices, and two-thirds of Hulu users watch with other people, she said.

Asked how original programming fi ts into the company’s vision, given recent executive changes such as the arrival in October of new CEO Mike Hopkins, Koh said: “Mike has been an excellent supporter of original programming. We want to talk about shows that are truly innovative, that are ambitious.”

As for how Hulu defines success for an original, “We look at it from a qualitative and annotative perspective,” Koh said, adding that number of views is a factor.

“We care if people are watching, for sure,” she said. “But I also think we’re a very young company. We’ve just celebrated our sixth birthday. We’ve only been doing original programming for two and a half years.”

Daniel Holloway is programming editor of B&C.