Hulu signs global distribution deal for its original programming

Online video aggregator Hulu has signed a deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises that will have FME handle international rights to Hulu's original programming.

It's the first time an international distributor has signed such an agreement with an online video service, and it allows FME to distribute Hulu's original series across all platforms, including traditional media.

First up will be Morgan Spurlock's documentary series A Day in the Life, which will launch its second season on Hulu March 12.

"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," said David Ellender, Global CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises. "We are delighted to be part of Hulu's ambitious push in to the production of original programming."

Hulu last month launched its first original scripted series, the political drama Battleground and said it will rollout a travel series, Up to Speed, this summer.

FremantleMedia is part of the RTL Group, Europe's largest television and radio broadcast company, which is in turn 90 percent owned by Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's major media and entertainment companies.

"We are not doing this to focus on digital platforms, although series could end up there," said Jeff Tahler, SVP of acquisitions and development for Freemantle. "It's a sea change now that they start programming at half hours and hours instead of the three, five, seven and nine-minute spurts that have traditionally been done online. This content can sit on any television platform around the world."

Tahler told The Hollywood Reporter that the deal with Hulu would take the company into a new space for the first time, calling it "the first in a crop of new content creators." Hulu, he said. Is helping to blur the line between traditional TV networks and digital companies, adding that it and Hulu Plus are "accessed like HBO or Showtime on smart TVs."

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