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The Handmaid’s Tale swells Hulu sign-ups, drives development on all-new genre shows

Contributed by
May 2, 2018

Energized by the success of The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu announced today it is ramping up development on a raft of new genre shows — including an exclusive deal with DreamWorks Animation — even as its flagship program continues to swell the streaming service’s base of new subscribers.

At Hulu’s annual pitch to advertisers, CEO Randy Freer unveiled a ton of revealing information about how the service has grown since The Handmaid’s Tale debuted on the platform last spring, as well as its plans to fold in more serial TV programming, including marquee new animation and horror projects. He also announced that The Handmaid’s Tale has been renewed for a third season.

Hulu credited The Handmaid’s Tale with a significant one-year increase in its subscription count, noting that the service has eclipsed 20 million subscribers for the first time after ending 2017 with 17 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The report also revealed that last month’s Season 2 premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale drew twice the number of viewers as the series’ premiere episode did in April of 2017.

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On the strength of its growing viewer base, and with an emphasis on TV programming to balance its offering of licensed movie titles, Freer unveiled Hulu’s ambitious development plans for a roster of new series projects. 

Most notable among those is Hulu’s all-new deal with DreamWorks Animation, which Deadline reports will make Hulu the exclusive platform for “future DWA feature films, as well as library titles including ShrekShrek 2 and Shark Tale,” along with new DWA releases from 2019 on. THR adds that DreamWorks also will begin developing original new series that will be exclusive to Hulu.

While the DWA agreement, along with the service’s in-development Animaniacs reboot with Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. Animation, is aimed at families, Hulu also unveiled early details on a new horror project set to hit the service this year.

Into the Dark, developed with Blumhouse Television, will be a year-long, 12-episode horror series based on holidays that fall in each calendar month, reports Deadline. Into the Dark premieres Oct. 5 with debut episode “The Body,” which reportedly will tell the story of a hitman (Tom Bateman) who’s always on point and a “feisty, intelligent” woman (Rebecca Rittenhouse) who’s mesmerized by his calculating coolness.

Hulu also announced plenty of new series projects set in other genres. But with The Handmaid’s Tale looking like it’s here to stay, and agreements that bolster the service’s lineup of genre originals, we’re wondering: is Hulu gaining the traction it’s been seeking to finally pose a serious challenge to Netflix and Amazon Video? Let us know your streaming service pecking order — and whether Hulu is poised to sit at, or near, the top.