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TBI Weekly: SVOD leaders lay out the year’s offensive

With Hulu revealing its latest plans and figures during its Upfronts presentation this week, it becomes the latest of the top SVOD platforms to lay out its impressive stats and offerings for 2018.

Hulu revealed that is now has 20 million US subscribers as it laid out the year’s plans, which will include incorporating advertising on its live programming and downloadable content. It completes the list, as Amazon revealed it has over 100 million worldwide subscribers and Netflix revealed it has 125 million in the year’s first financial quarter.

When it comes to programming, Hulu has renewed its ratings winner The Handmaid’s Tale for a third season and announced upcoming titles including comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral, written and produced by Mindy Kaling, Catch-22 from George Clooney and Little Fires Everywhere from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

The US streamer has also struck a kids and family licensing deal with Dreamworks Animation. An interesting move as rival platform Netflix also struck a deal with the kids’ company this first quarter.

Netflix, however, has chosen to focus on local originals over big names for the year, a plan which it emphasised during its Q1 earnings call, and later during an event in Rome where it revealed its plans to invest further in European content.

Amazon has also been focusing on localised content, but in its case it has made wide strides in incorporating more Indian content. The streamer will also be upping its video spend as it continues to drive Prime Member adoption, according to company chief Jeff Bezos.

The platform will be launching new seasons of Bosch, Sneaky Pete and The Grand Tour, alongside You Are Wanted from Germany, Sentosha from Japan and Breathe and Inside Edge from India.

For the first quarter of 2018 each of these three platforms has shown great gains and growth highlighting that early providers of direct-to-consumer services remain powerful in the global TV landscape.

Also in the news…

AB International Distribution has sold the French rights of the the television series Babylon Berlin to the Canal + Group

NBCUniversal International Networks has refreshed the brand for its flagship channel as Universal TV

Banijay Group’s Zodiak Kids has pre-sales across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Canada for Lilybuds, ahead of its launch on France 5 on May 5

Boat Rocker Rights has sold preschool title Bitz & Bob to TVO and Knowledge Network in Canada, EBS in South Korea, NRK in Norway, YLE in Finland, Hop in Israel, France Television in France and Fox Latin America

Keshet International (KI) is to acquire Ecosse Films’ The Trial of Christine Keeler

Channel 5 has acquired True North’s shopping show Shop Smart Save Money

The week’s top TBI stories…