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Hulu inks deal with Dreamworks and passes 20m subs

US OTT TV service Hulu has unveiled ambitious plans to expand its offering as its subscriber base passed the 20 million milestone.

Hulu now has over 20 million US subscribers. Among new innovations for the service, Hulu is to introduce advertising in its live TV offering for the first time.

Beginning later this quarter, the OTT outfit will offer dynamically inserted advertising across live sports, news and entertainment programming. This capability will be introduced across select cable networks and roll out onto additional live content over the coming months.

Hulu also plans to offer downloadable content with additional opportunities for advertisers. The functionality will make it possible for subscribers to access shows and movies on the go, with no internet connection required, and will give advertisers the opportunity to reach their target audiences more effectively.

The new platform will launch during the US 2018-19 upfront season.

“Our launch of the industry’s first ad-supported downloadable content experience is yet another example of how Hulu is innovating viewer-first ad solutions to drive powerful results for brands”, said Peter Naylor, SVP of advertising sales at Hulu.

“With downloadable content, we’re offering brands more ways to connect with engaged viewers who love the experience of watching television, wherever they may be.”

Hulu’s introduction of downloadable content will likely boost mobile usage. The company recently added its live streaming TV services into its mobile app.

Hulu also unveiled plans for a raft of new shows, including new series orders for Four Weddings and a Funeral, based on the 1994 UK romantic comedy, and Ramy, which join up coming Hulu Originals Castle Rock, Hulu’s second project from JJ Abrams and Stephen King set to premiere on July 25; Catch-22, from George Clooney and starring Kyle Chandler; The First, from Beau Willimon and starring Sean Penn; and Little Fires Everywhere, from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, based on the book of the same name.

Four Weddings and a Funeral will be written and executive-produced by Mindy Kaling and Matt Warburton. The series comes to Hulu from MGM Television and Universal Television, with MGM serving as the lead studio, and marks Mindy Kaling’s second original series with Hulu following The Mindy Project. This is the second project with MGM Television following The Handmaid’s Tale and its third project with Universal Television following The Path and The Mindy Project.

Comedy series Ramy is written, executive produced, created by and stars Ramy Youssef, and is executive produced by Jerrod Carmichael, co-creators Ari Katcher and Ryan Welch and A24’s Ravi Nandan. The series marks the first original series order for Hulu from new York-based A24.

Other new shows include Into the Dark, a horror series produced in partnership with Blumhouse Television.

Hulu has also renewed its hit The Handmaid’s Tale for a third season and has struck a deal with Sony Pictures Televisoin to become the exclusive SVOD distributors of ABC network series The Good Doctor.

Finally, the OTT TV service has struck what it says is its largest kids and family licensing deal to date with Dreamworks Animation. The agreement marks the first time Hulu has partnered with a major studio in a multi-series commitment to debut original kids and family content, covering first pay window rights to movies including How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, The Boss Baby 2 and Trolls 2 as well as the right to air library movies including Shrek, Shrek 2 and Shark Tale.

Hulu will also be the home to a slate of new, original series inspired by characters from DreamWorks’ hit franchises and upcoming feature films, with the first shows to debut in 2020, the service said.

Rival SVOD player Netflix recently struck a deal with Dreamworks Animation that will see it become the home to new animated series Fast & Furious.