Hulu hits 1 million live TV subscriber mark, debuts new campaign timed to Emmys

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Hulu is taking a victory lap even before the Primetime Emmy Awards are doled out Monday.

The video streaming service has a new star-studded commercial set to be broadcast Monday night during NBC’s 70th Primetime Emmy Awards (Monday, 8 EDT/5 PDT) and also during the network’s Red Carpet Special (7:30 p.m. ET) preceding the awards show.

Its timing is appropriate as Hulu’s live TV service, which launched last year and now has 60-plus live channels, now has more than 1 million subscribers, the company says. Overall, Hulu has more than 20 million subscribers when you add in those who pay for its on-demand TV and movie offerings.

And Hulu is hoping to rake in several Emmys Monday to solidify last year’s success when it won 10 awards, including best drama and lead actress in a drama (for “The Handmaid’s Tale” and its star Elisabeth Moss). This year, Hulu landed 27 nominations and has already won four Creative Arts Emmy Awards, including one for Samira Wiley as guest actress in a drama (“The Handmaid’s Tale”).

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“This has been a pretty big year for Hulu. We have won some historic awards and, importantly, grown our business tremendously,” said Kelly Campbell, Hulu’s chief marketing officer.

Consumer research done by Hulu has found that consumers associate Hulu with television similar to how they associate Hershey’s with chocolate, Campbell says. “People think of us as TV,” she said. “That’s great, but we need people to take another look so they realize all we have to offer now.” 

The new commercial aims to get that message across. It features big-name sports stars James Harden of the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, as well as actors Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and real-life husband Joe Manganiello (“Justice League”). Also in the ad: Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Miles Brown (“Black-ish”), comedian Sarah Silverman, who has a weekly talk show “I Love You, America,” and Ramy Youssef (“Mr. Robot”), who also has a Hulu original “Ramy” in the works.

In the ad, the stars tell viewers not to fly first class, never sit courtside, don’t buy a king-size bed or add bacon to your burger because that will ruin the way they previously did things. And never get Hulu, they say, because its combination of live TV and sports, original content, and library of TV and movies “will ruin TV for you forever,” Harden says in the ad.

That’s edgy, but maybe not as edgy as the memorable Hulu ad that ran during the 2009 Super Bowl in which Alec Baldwin played an alien touting Hulu’s “evil plot to destroy the world.”

“We are basically saying Hulu is a better way to watch television,” Campbell said.

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Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2018/09/16/hulu-hits-1-million-live-tv-subscriber-mark-debuts-emmy-commercial/1304968002/