Hulu Hankers for a Piece of Chromecast Real Estate
Google's Chromecast device has only been out about a week or so, but the ranks of participating content providers continue to expand. In addition to the Netflix support that launched with the streaming adapter, both Hulu and HBO now appear to be getting involved.
"We are actively working with Google to bring Hulu Plus to the platform," Hulu spokesperson Meredith Kendall told the E-Commerce Times.
HBO is also reportedly exploring the possibility of doing something similar.
Hulu declined to provide further details.
'Hedging Their Bets'
Google's US$35 plug-and-play TV device is compatible with Android and Apple iOS devices as well as Macs and PCs. While it provides content from Google Play and YouTube, to date only Netflix's mobile apps have worked directly with the Chromecast, limiting what content viewers could receive through the device.
The Chromecast is just one of several areas that Google is currently exploring in the TV space. Also in the news lately have been reports that Google is considering launching an Internet cable TV service.
"Google is all over the place, and it could be said they were hedging their bets, but this is very different from what they were originally doing with Google TV," said Greg Ireland, research manager for multiscreen video at research firm IDC.
Chromecast "isn't a premium device," Ireland told the E-Commerce Times. "Google TV was running on expensive devices at the time it first came out, while Roku was introducing sub-$100 devices.
"Now Google went with inexpensive, and it could be that they are really looking to knock the floor out from everyone else," he added. "At $35 it is almost to the point of an impulse purchase, and since it offers a couple months of Netflix, it almost makes it a giveaway product -- that is very different from the high-end, high processor power devices."
'Joining the Crew'
With Netflix already on the Chromecast device, it isn't too surprising to see Hulu moving in that direction as well.
"This is about joining the crew, and Hulu Plus, just like any of these companies, needs to be on as many of these devices as possible," Ireland added. "If they can't keep pace with Netflix, they are at a disadvantage."
In fact, "these services are judged by the content they have, but more importantly, it is how accessible they are across these various devices," he suggested. "Netflix has excelled in being on many devices, and Hulu and Amazon have lagged behind. So it behooves them to be integrated on these devices."
Chromecast, meanwhile, is "a no-brainer," Joel Espelien, senior analyst at The Diffusion Group, told the E-Commerce Times. "Like the other premium services -- Netflix, Amazon, HBO Go -- Hulu Plus needs to be ubiquitous on these new connected platforms."
'Equally Important for Chromecast'
Then, of course, there's the ongoing competition with Google's chief rival at Apple, which has already lagged behind Roku, the current leader in content offerings as an over-the-top content provider.
"Apple TV has been distinct from Roku, as [Apple] has been slow to integrate with content partners," IDC's Ireland pointed out.
So, "having these services is equally important for Chromecast," Ireland added. "The value of these connected devices is tied to the content they provide."