Starting in March 2020, Hulu will be the home of all FX content. As soon as a show airs on FX, it will be available to stream on Hulu. Furthermore, FX is developing four television shows exclusively for Hulu that won’t even air on their cable network. As someone that uses the service nearly every day, I’m pleased as punch to hear it.
When Disney purchased Fox, they acquired a lot of stuff along with it. One of the most interesting is the streaming service Hulu. Disney was already working on their own service, Disney+. This left many to wonder what would happen to Hulu until Disney announced a bundle of the service with Disney+ and indicated it would host more adult oriented content.
Another large brand that Disney obtained during the acquisition was FX, the cable network. FX is home to prestige dramas and peculiar comedies. It skews mature in its programming, which of course goes against the Disney modus operandi. Disney has realized however, that Hulu can play host to a variety of adult content that is technically owned by Disney, but doesn’t have the child-friendly name attached.
This is a big win for Hulu. They have limited original programming, especially when compared to Netflix. Their focus has always been on providing next-day streaming of television shows on major networks. This strategy relies a great deal on their competitors for content. CBS already has their own service and doesn’t put their shows on Hulu. NBC puts their shows on Hulu, but that will likely change when they launch their own platform, Peacock, in 2020. Every time a new streaming service launches, or lands exclusivity deals for television content, Hulu loses value. Having the benefit of exclusive FX content will help maintain the dam.
This is also a win for FX. It would be easy for Disney to move FX away from producing mature content to bring them in line with the brand, but that would be a shame. FX really tries to push the boundaries of television, which is good for all consumers of the medium. We need places where artists can be raw and experimental with shows. Where else would Marvel have put Legion? A show like that could never be on Disney+, much less an over-the-air network. Overall, it’s good to see that Disney wants to let FX continue to do what it does well.
We are still in the early stages of the streaming wars. Time will tell who wins in the end. I’d personally wager that the streaming market, and television as a whole, will look very different in 15 years than it does today. In the meantime, I’m glad that it’s resulting in services doing all they can to produce compelling, original content. A lot of people fear the monopolization of media by conglomerates like Disney, and understandably so. There will be far-reaching effects from the Fox acquisition that are difficult to accurately predict right now. But we do know that competition in film and television is as fierce as it’s ever been. For now, this is a really good thing. After all, before Disney+, when would we have seen an organization drop $100 million on a single season of a Star Wars TV show? I vote that we enjoy this while we can.
FX on Hulu will begin in March 2020.