Streaming service eyes new revenue abroad

Hulu has signed a first-look deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises, which will have rights to the streaming service’s original programming for international sales.

First programming covered under the deal is “A Day in the Life,” a documentary series from Morgan Spurlock that is about to premiere its second season on Hulu.

Pact is believed to be the first of its kind, a sign of maturation for streaming services as they introduce original programming to differentiate their own platforms and now seek additional revenue opportunities off platform as well.

Selling Hulu original programming abroad does not preclude going into a market where Hulu has an international presence, though such a sale would likely be for linear television. The only foreign market into which Hulu has committed expanding so far is Japan, though the company has indicated more territories will follow.

“We’re friendly to linear licensing because linear TV vs. online VOD are pretty different use cases,” said Andy Forssell, senior VP of content at Hulu.

Hulu will look to license its programming to either TV or digital outlets, and TV could even get an earlier window in some instances, according to Forssell. And in regions where Hulu has no plans to expand, even rival streaming services could be buyers, he noted.

“If it’s a market we don’t plan on being in anytime soon, I have no issue with licensing to Netflix,” Forssell said.

FremantleMedia Enterprises is a global distributor of programming, particularly unscripted formats like its own “American Idol.”

Last month, Hulu unveiled its first original scripted series, comedy “Battleground.” The service has dabbled in unscripted original programming over the years as well including Spurlock’s “Life.”

Hulu also announced that Spurlock’s next project, “Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope,” will be one of 30 documentaries to which the service will have exclusive distribution rights.

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