Hulu Eschews Binge Model, Promises to Release Episodes Weekly


Hulu is purging the binge.

The streaming service, which is greatly ramping up its original programming output this year, will release episodes of its original series on a weekly basis, Hulu head of content Craig Erwich told reporters Sunday at the Television Critics Association press tour.

“We want to give viewers the opportunity to discover their favorite shows every week,” he said, and to “enjoy the joy of watercooler TV.” By following a more traditional weekly episode release, instead of the all-at-once binge model favored by Netflix and Amazon, Erwich says Hulu will also “get shows on faster without waiting for full-series completion.” He also noted that once all episodes air, they’ll be available for an all-at-once binge for viewers that prefer that model.

Hulu is already releasing episodes of its new comedy Difficult People on a weekly basis. Yahoo Screen uploaded Season 6 of Community on a weekly basis as well. But streaming TV has become known for its “all episodes available at once” model.

Later, during a Hulu press tour session for The Mindy Project, star and executive producer Mindy Kaling supported the week-by-week news: “Maybe it’s old-fashioned, but I love a Christmas episode airing in December!” Added Mindy executive producer Matt Warburton: “The downside to releasing all at once is you get so much great content, but two weeks later, the conversation is over.”

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Erwich made the announcement as Hulu preps for a busy season: The service’s premiere of The Mindy Project happens on Sept. 15, while the new comedy Casual, from director Jason Reitman and executive producers Zander Legmann, Helen Estabrook and Liz Tigelaar, premieres Oct. 7.

On deck are the Jason Katims drama The Way, starring Aaron Paul, Michele Monahan and Hugh Dancy, and J.J Abrams’ 11/22/63, based on the Stephen King story and starring James Franco.

On the acquisitions front, Hulu’s output deals with FX, AMC Studios and Turner mean past seasons of The Strain, Tyrant and Fargo are on their way, while current and future Adult Swim shows will stream there, as will the upcoming Fear the Walking Dead. Hulu also made a deal to be the exclusive streaming on demand home for Fox’s Empire, and struck a deal to sell Showtime’s streaming service as an add-on package.

“Hulu started seven years ago and could only be watched on a PC,” Erwich noted. “Now 60% of users are watching in their living room on devices like Apple TV, Roku and XBox. We’re making big investments in tech and making big and bold bets in programming.”

As for Hulu’s big move to stream Seinfeld‘s entire 180-episode library at once, Erwich said “thousands” of users have streamed every episode at once. “That’s three entire days of programming,” he said. “These fans barely slept and barely ate. They were truly masters of their streaming domain.”

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