Wednesday at its Hulu Upfront event in New York City, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced the beginning this summer users of Hulu's mobile app will be able to watch selects full TV episodes for free. Hopkins said the free content will not require a subscription to Hulu plus and it will be fully ad supported. A new Hulu Plus iPhone app is also set to be released later this year.
"With our re-imagining of mobile viewing, we want you, our viewers, to have more access to the content you love, right at your fingertips," Hopkins said Wednesday. "Additionally, later this summer, we will be launching the next generation of the Hulu Plus iPhone app."
The Hulu Upfront event was not just about free TV shows coming to an app near you, Hulu also announced that Hulu Plus now has more than six million subscribers. Hopkins said the company has announced the second season of "Deatbeat" and several more original shows.
"We’re pleased to see so many millions of viewers turning to Hulu Plus daily, thanks largely to our unrivaled breadth and depth of content, including exclusive access to some of the biggest broadcast and cable shows, and Hulu Originals," Hopkins said.
Original content on Hulu and Hulu Plus, Hopkins said, is only going to become more of a focal point for the company going forward.
"It’s not enough for us to simply invest in acquiring and producing great shows…we want to make sure viewers know where to find them – only on Hulu and Hulu Plus. To that end, over the next year, we will more than triple our content marketing spend to grow awareness for, and interest in, Hulu Originals," Hopkins said.
Hulu's commitment to original and more content should not come as a surprise as its main competitors have continued to invest in their own original shows. Amazon entered in to the original content market with the political comedy "Alpha House." In the near future Amazon said it will have at least 10 original shows available to Amazon Prime subscribers, including five shows geared toward children.
Netflix created the critically acclaimed "House of Cards" and its original content took off from that point. Other successful Netflix originals include "Orange is the New Black," "Lilyhammer" and "Arrested Development." Original content on Netflix is not entirely focused on TV shows as it has created documentaries such as The Square and Mitt as well as several stand-up comedy specials.
The Hulu Plus app is free to download from the App Store or iTunes. It requires iOS 6 or later and 12.8 MB.