Much of the talk surrounding the big names in the streaming world concerns their astronomical budgets. The big names in streaming – Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and others – are currently spending just as much, if not more, on their original content as major Hollywood film and television studios. For a while, Hulu lagged behind the other major players in streaming, preferring instead to air syndicated content. That’s no longer the case, as Hulu has been ramping up their original content and exclusive offerings and is signing some of the biggest names in film and TV, both in front of and behind the camera. Now, Hulu has given their original programming budget a major boost in a push to attract the best talent in the industry.
Beatrice Springborn, Hulu’s wonderfully-named head of original programming, told The Hollywood Reporter that Hulu’s spending differs from that of its competitors in that Hulu seeks to spend smarter, not necessarily bigger:
We’re absolutely spending on par with Amazon as far as development goes. We have a very boutique approach to talent. We’re eight executives — not 30. Honestly, I don’t know what the number of execs are at Netflix at this point. We’re accessible and still not premiering a show every week, so there’s an opportunity to have an impact. And we clearly market our shows well.
Netflix still leads the pack in terms of spending, with an estimated $6 billion to be spend on original programming this year. Amazon and Hulu come in next, each spending about $4.5 billion on their original content. Of that $4.5 billion, $13 million was spent on Hulu’s series The Handmaid’s Tale, which currently has the distinction of being the most expensive Hulu project to date. That spending seems to be paying off; the premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale currently ranks as Hulu’s most-watched programs ever.