Miramax, Hulu announce pact

Marks first-time studio's pics are available via streaming service

Further making good on their pledge to digitally exploit its library, Miramax has partnered with Hulu to release hundreds of films on Hulu Plus and Hulu’s free ad-supported service.

The multi-year agreement will allow for up to 300 films per month to stream on Hulu Plus, including “Good Will Hunting,” “Scream,” “Swingers” and “The English Patient.”

Deal comes one month after the company partnered with Netflix on another deal to stream Miramax titles. Both deals are non-exclusive, and Miramax CEO Mike Lang says that even more digital deals could be in the works.

“We felt it was critical for us to allow multiple players to compete in the marketplace with our content and to have more than one dominant player,” Lang told Variety.

Hulu will make up to 15 titles available free per month, rotating selections. Move marks the first time Miramax films have become available through an ad-supported streaming service.

Lang says the benefits of offering titles for free is twofold. First, Miramax would be able to test and compare the monetization of Hulu’s ad-based platform to other similar business models. Second, Lang says that a small number of free titles will entice users to subscribe to Hulu’s premium service.

“We thought that would be an interesting test to see what kind of conversion the guys get and how that would work,” Lang said of converting Hulu users to subscribers. “I’ve seen 30 million uniques a month on the Hulu.com site, so that’s a pretty large front porch to be advertising to, to not only get your brand there, but also then to drive people to the subscription product.

Looking ahead, Lang said Miramax’s priorities include the creation of a digital locker service and expanding its global TV presence. Last week, the company hired TV vets Lindsay Gardner and Bob Cook to help with digital distribution, domestic TV syndication and development of Miramax-branded cable nets both domestically and abroad.

Today’s pact is a reunion of sorts for Lang, a former EVP of business development and strategy with Fox Entertainment who played an active role in Hulu’s creation.