Hulu CEO Andy Forssell Talks Originals, Advertising, That Sale That Never Happened

/ Sep 24, 2013


In a one-on-one chat with Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Hulu acting CEO and SVP of content Andy Forsell said his company’s originals command 5% of viewing on Hulu. Looking into the future, Forsell was bullish, saying that he thinks Hulu originals will rise to account for 10-15% of total viewing on the video service.

Forsell also reiterated the success of “The Awesomes,” an animated superhero comedy series from Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker. He said the show, which Hulu recently renewed for a second season, is a top 10 show on the site. Similarly, Forsell said people are watching “Quick Draw,” a quirky western comedy set in the 1870s. He said it was also a top 10 show on Hulu and that the company is seeing that people are watching every episode, instead of watching a few and leaving. “We looked at the stats,” said Forsell. “The number watching every episode is amazing.”

That said, Forsell declined to disclose any actual data in terms of viewership for Hulu originals. When asked why, Forsell pointed to a couple of things: 1) On-demand content has a longer shelf life than linear TV, so the company will be able to aggregate a larger audience over the course of months rather than within a limited time frame; and 2) Hulu sells against aggregated audiences rather than individual shows.

“It’s natural for people to ask for ratings,” said Forsell. “When people are desperate for ratings, it goes back to the old way of aggregating audience. We don’t want to put the pressure on any one show to aggregate an audience.” He said that Hulu can be more patient than TV networks and will look to aggregate audience across many shows. “‘The Awesomes’ has done well,” added Forsell, “but we can market [the show] in a way where we can build an audience over the first year. I guarantee that show is going to continue to perform well for six more months.”

That was a major throughline for the speech as Forsell said Hulu reaches an aggregated audience of 80 to 90 million people across Hulu and Hulu Plus “every few quarters.” With its original programming, the goal for Hulu is to give audiences another reason to keep on coming back to the site.

As for competition, Forsell said he does not see a lot of direct competition with its owners. Maybe in five years that will be the case, but right now it’s not an issue. Additionally, while he considers Netflix as competition in terms of being another content buyer, he says it’s not as “head-to-head as most people would think, though we certainly run into them.” At the end of the day, Forsell claimed that Hulu is not missing out on any programming pitches it wishes it had seen.

Rothenberg did open the conversation with a question about Hulu’s second attempt at a sales process, which earlier this summer ended like the previous one did, with no sale. Forsell acknowledged that he can’t say it wasn’t a distraction, but simply credited his team for “keeping their heads down” and staying focused. He didn’t mention what many are claiming to be an exodus of executives at the company.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


How Is Online Video Like Game of Thrones? Evolve Media

CraveOnline Bets on Manly Men with LiveOutdoors Revamp

Kin Community

Web Series Wednesday: 5 Shows From Kin Community


Kaltura Helps MotorTrend Go SVOD

Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!

Why Google, Disney and Verizon Are Teaming Up to Bring...

Logan Paul The Thinning Legendary Digital Entertainment

Viner Logan Paul Mounting Multi-City Black Friday Promo Tour for...


How YuppTV is Cornering the Expat Streaming Market


National Geographic Rolls Out First Slate of Digital Originals


HorseLifestyle Opens Stable of Streaming Content for Equine Obsessives

Snapchat 2

How Snapchat is Helping Users Discover New Perspectives With...

John Boswell Melodysheep

YouTube Mashup Artist Melodysheep Signs with WME

Kurt Hugo Schneider

Sony Music Orders Kurt Hugo Schneider YouTube Series

Ours to Lose #OursToLose YouTube

How YouTube is Fighting Climate Change with #OursToLose

AT&T A+E Networks

AT+T and A+E Sign Multi-Year Pact for Linear TV, VOD, Mobile and...

Fusion debuting new series on Snapchat Discover

How Snapchat Is Courting Advertisers With Audience Targetting

New York Times Logo

Four Months After Shake-up, New York Times Names a New Video Chief

vox mediaaaaa

Vox Teams Up with Snapchat Discover


Why Otter Media Is Pumping $22 Million Into Crunchyroll


5 Emerging Unboxing Channels

Dunkin Donuts Cakeworks Branded Video

What Makes Branded Video Great?


How Jukin Media’s Wire Helps Users Find Viral Videos...

Elliott Morgan

Vimeo Grabs Another Comedy Special from Elliot Morgan and Supergravity

Machinima Logo

Machinima Hires Don Reilley to Head Brand Partnerships, Preps...

Family Fun Pack Collective Digital Studio CDS

Collective Digital Studio Orders Family Fun Pack YouTube Channel


Nickelodeon’s Noggin Chases Preschool Viewers with New...

Cameron Dallas

Cameron Dallas Signs with Brillstein Entertainment Partners


YouTube Pledges Legal Support for Creators’ Fair Use Claims

Cinedigm Logo

Cinedigm Takes Majority Stake in ConTV

Amazon Studios

Amazon Removes Option Clause as it Unveils Free Cloud-Based...


Why Hollywood is Investing In Tubi TV

Awesomeness Films

Awesomeness Films and Jurassic Party Sign First-Look Deal


Web Series Wednesday: Five Shows From All Def Digital


Vimeo’s Content Chief Greg Clayman to Exit By Year’s End


As Western Streaming Content Booms, China Cracks Down On Set-Top Apps

John Malkin Ovation

Ovation TV Taps John Malkin to Head Cross-Platform Content Strategy

Here's how musicians should use facebook

How To Increase Video Completion on Facebook [Study]

Logan Paul The Thinning Legendary Digital Entertainment

Legendary Digital Acquires Young Adult Thriller ‘The...


Sky Creates Satellite/Digital Hybrid Sky Q

Chelsea Handler Netflix

Chelsea Handler’s Netflix Doc Series Gets January Premiere Date

Firetalk Logo

Live streamer Firetalk Gets More Interactive with New Guest Feature