A day after Apple had its time in the limelight courtesy of its latest quarterly earnings report, Hulu wants the attention. As a result, during a presentation to advertisers, the streaming company made a flurry of announcements. That includes two new Marvel shows, a new advertisement approach, and an update to its subscriber count.
Update: It turns out that Gabriel Luna will indeed be playing Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider again. But, as noted by Variety, there’s a catch, and it’s an interesting one:
“Variety has learned exclusively that Luna will star in the recently announced Hulu live-action series based on the comic book character. This will mark the second time that Luna has played Ghost Rider, previously appearing as the character in the ABC-Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, sources stress that this will be a completely new iteration of the character in no way connected to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline.”
So, Luna will be reprising the character of Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider, but it apparently won’t be the same character that was in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Is that a good move? Only time will tell in that regard.
The original article continues below.
On Wednesday, Hulu revealed its strong subscriber base has been growing. Back in January of this year, Hulu confirmed it had surpassed 25 million subscribers, all of which are in the United States. Now, on the first day of May, the company has confirmed it has surpassed 28 million total subscribers.
Specifically, there are 26.8 million paid subscribers out there in the wild. There is an additional 1.3 million subscribers on promotional accounts, giving Hulu more than 28 million subscribers.
With so many subscribers, Hulu will need to continue to launch content. To help with that, it has Disney’s backing, which owns the Marvel brand. As a result, there are two new Marvel shows coming to the platform: Marvel’s Ghost Rider and Marvel’s Helstrom. Both shows are expected to arrive in 2020.
Ghost Rider appears to be a spin-off, originally rooted in the Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which is still airing on ABC. In that show, Robbie Reyes (played by Gabriel Luna) takes up the mantle of the Ghost Rider. However, casting has not been announced, so it’s possible that Luna does not come back to reprise the role.
Meanwhile, Helstrom will see two characters, Daimon and Ana Helstrom, as they “track down the terrorizing worst of humanity”. For those who might not know, the Helstrom siblings are the son and daughter of a “mysterious and powerful serial killer” that is actually Satan in the comics. Whether or not the TV series goes down this specific route remains to be seen. Casting for this show has not been revealed yet.
(Marvel and Hulu also have four additional animated shows coming down the line, including a series based on Howard the Duck.)
And, finally, a new advertising initiative. Hulu says it’s going to launch “binge advertising” in the near future. Unfortunately the company did not go into any detail on what this actually means, or what it will look like. However, similar to Hulu’s “Pause Ad” efforts, it sounds like companies are trying to find a way to show ads without necessarily barging in on a show’s runtime:
“Hulu’s new “binge advertising” experience comes as advertisers are increasingly seeking to reach customers in a way that doesn’t annoy them or disrupt their experience. This new format will “make it possible for marketers to target binge viewers with a creative that is situationally relevant to their viewing behavior,” the company said in a statement.
The company didn’t describe how binge ads will be displayed in its initial announcement, but some think Hulu will let advertisers sponsor a limited-interruption “binge” session of a show.”
A big day of news for Hulu, especially for anyone who enjoys the Marvel properties finding their way to screens. One has to wonder how much Hulu dropping its base price plan helped boost the subscriber count.