Hulu wants to follow its rivals Netflix and Amazon by buying films from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, according to Bloomberg. This would mark the first time Hulu has distributed original films, and could perhaps indicate a shift in strategy for the company.
Most of Hulu’s value for customers has previously come from its selection of current TV show seasons. This has set it apart from Netflix and Amazon. But that advantage may have an expiration date, as potential Hulu investor Time Warner wants to pull “next-day” shows from the service, according to The Wall Street Journal.
This would likely force Hulu to put more resources into original content like movies and TV shows. Though Hulu does have its own original shows, one of which, “Casual,” was nominated for a Golden Globe, it has trailed rival Netflix in terms of both volume and quality. And though it has licensed old films, it has never put out any of its own.
Both Netflix and Amazon went on a buying spree at Sundance, and seem to be diving headfirst into the original films business. Hulu appears set to follow. Hulu would likely release any films bought at Sundance both in theatres and online, and work with a traditional distributor, according to Bloomberg. What we don’t know is whether they would release in theatres and online at the same time, something which Netflix has insisted on, but which could have put off some indie filmmakers.
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