Hulu, NBCUniversal/News Corp.’s web video site that offers streaming content of ad-supported content from select major television networks and film studios, has recently established a doc-specific section for its content offering. Non-fiction fans can now hit www.hulu.com/documentaries to watch full-length and short documentaries.
Andy Forssell, SVP of content and distribution for Hulu, says the website’s new doc section will redefine how doc viewers regard the films they are passionate about.
‘We started experimenting a year ago at our launch with movies,’ he said. ‘But while we were doing the more typical big-budget stuff, we also did some experiments in indie space documentaries with Crawford. We all had respect for Crawford as a piece of film.’
Forssell says that, in partnership with Crawford‘s distributor, B-side, Hulu offered the film a profound opportunity to reach out to wider and more passionate audiences. He says the film, which dealt with the small Texas town that has 700 residents (one of them being George W. Bush), became a popular and at one point the most-commented-on feature of the site as a result.
‘We [like] when a film goes particularly viral and people tell their friends about it,’ he said. ‘We spent a lot of money and time building tools to make that really easy so that people who are passionate about content can spread it and help build the audience themselves. That in itself is a great thing for us.’
Forssell also says that he is comfortable with smaller or niche audiences, since Hulu can aggregate them into marketable demographics that are just as valuable to advertisers as large audiences.
Offering such other titles as Before the Music Dies, Super Size Me and Slacker, Forssell is confident that Hulu will be at the center of the intellectual discourse that comes with thoughtful and profound films, as he attests to the volume of vibrant and intelligent discussion from users on the site’s comment boards regarding such offerings.
‘They don’t just watch something and forget about it,’ he says. ‘They watch it and want to talk about it.’