Hulu original TV series goes global

Partnering with FremantleMedia Enterprises, the online video service looks to expand its user base by bringing its original programming to more countries around the world.

Opening of Hulu's original TV show "A Day In The Life." Screenshot by CNET

What do billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, street artist Mr. Brainwash, and music group Black Eye Peas' front man will.i.am have in common? They all had their lives chronicled for 24 hours in Hulu's original TV show by Morgan Spurlock, "A Day in the Life."

Now, this show--which was only available in the U.S.--will be the first to kick off an international first look deal that will bring the online video service's original programming to a global audience, the company said in a statement.

Partnering with FremantleMedia Enterprises--an international creator and producer for television and radio shows like The X Factor, The Price is Right, and Idols--Hulu announced that this is the first time an international distributor has signed such an agreement with an online video service.

"This is a ground-breaking deal, which sets a new precedent for acquiring content that can live on both digital and linear platforms, while identifying opportunities outside of the traditional distribution models," Global CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises David Ellender said in a statement.

Last August, Hulu announced that it was extending its premium subscription service Hulu Plus to users in Japan who would be able to access all Hulu films and TV shows across all platforms. But so far it hasn't offered this service to other countries.

"A Day in the Life" premiered in 2011 in the U.S. and its second season debuts tomorrow on Hulu's free service as well as Hulu Plus. The second season will feature chef Mario Batali, UFC fighter Mayhem Miller, comedian Marc Maron, and hip-hop duo Das Racist. Both seasons will be available internationally for format and tape licensing through FremantleMedia Enterprises.

Another original show backed by Hulu that debuted last month is a political drama called Battleground , which was produced by the makers of "500 Days of Summer" and "The Amazing Spider-Man." For the summer of 2012, the video service also plans to launch a travel series called "Up to Speed" by filmmaker Richard Linklater who made "Dazed and Confused" and "Before Sunset."

"As we expand into original series, we're collaborating with some of the world's greatest independent storytellers to make and distribute great TV," Hulu's senior vice president of content Andy Forssell said in a statement. "Through this new partnership with FME, we now have the opportunity to extend the reach of these distinctive stories like Morgan Spurlock's 'A Day in the Life,' on a global scale."

This new programming follows Netflix's announcement in January that it too was launching its first original series--a Sopranos-like crime drama called "Lilyhammer" about a mafia boss who moves to Norway as part of a witness protection program. Netflix also announced in January that it planned to bring streaming video international , kicking off in United Kingdom and Ireland.

 

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