Hulu Plus launched its Miramax offerings the same day it announced the deal with the mini-major studio. Netflix, which broke news of its Miramax deal in mid-May, set its debut day for sometime in June.
As of Tuesday, June 1, Hulu Plus was featuring the Miramax movies “Pulp Fiction,” “The Piano,” “Scream,” “Swingers, “The English Patient,” “Trainspotting,” “Clerks” and “Reservoir Dogs” as well as the pickup “A Hard Day’s Night.”
“Select films” will be offered on the ad-laden free Hulu service. Hulu Plus’ press release noted this will be “the first time Miramax titles have become available through an ad-supported streaming service,” for what it’s worth.
The only ad on the Hulu Plus movies was a still-image PSA, the same one seen on the service’s Criterion Collection movies.
A test streaming of part of “Pulp Fiction” revealed clear HD images with good skin tones and detail.
The Miramax deal puts Hulu Plus a step ahead of Netflix in the prestige movie market on streaming video. Netflix lost Criterion to Hulu Plus and will have no more films from the Tiffany DVD distributor as of year’s end.
Hulu Plus now has two of the most-respected business entities in the arthouse film game. Of course, Hulu Plus’ other movie offerings are mostly junk, while Netflix continues to pack in foreign, documentary and genre films from other sources.
On the Xbox 360 interface for Hulu Plus, Miramax received boldfaced branding top right of the individual movie profiles. Not the case accessing Hulu on Sony hardware. While Criterion rates a separate category on some versions of the Hulu Plus interface, so far there is no branding equivalent for Miramax.
Netflix’s stock was down along with the market on a bad day for investors. Hulu does not trade publicly — it’s owned by News Corp., NBC Universal and Disney — but there has been repeated speculation about an IPO.
Hulu chief Jason Kilar press-released thusly: “The Miramax library includes some of the most popular and acclaimed films ever produced.”
Both streaming media deals are non-exclusive and allow for distribution on tablets, mobile phones and, of course, computers and TVs. Both deals concern “hundreds of movies,” but there’s no telling how many of the 700-plus Miramax titles will be in the mix.
Mike Lang, CEO of Miramax, took a little extra credit in the deal announcement, noting that he was one of the early promoters of Hulu and its CEO Jason Kilar. Lang was a biz development exec at Fox/News Corp., one of Hulu’s creators.