Hulu streaming service makes big move for more family customers

A 2018 poll showed that nearly 60 percent of Americans watch streaming television, and most of them have Netflix.

But Netflix’s dominance over streaming television could be changing soon. Disney will launch its own streaming service in 2019 — called “Disney+” — and eventually will pull all its content from Netflix. Walmart is getting into the game in a partnership with Vudu and Apple is expected to roll out its own streaming service as well.

Then there’s Hulu, which had only 14 percent of the streaming pie according to that 2018 poll but has made moves in recent months to attract new customers — including families with kids.

Hulu signed a deal with DreamWorks Animation last year that takes effect this month, when several popular movies make their debut on Hulu.   

Hulu’s family-friendly content tops this month’s family-friendly entertainment spotlight.  

Leading the way is the 1998 movie “Prince of Egypt,” which tells the story of Moses and still ranks on my list of favorite movies of all time. Also streaming are “Antz” (1998), “The Road to El Dorado” (2000), “Chicken Run” (2000) and the less kid-friendly “Shrek” (2001). All are now streaming.  

It’s a big coup for Hulu, which has lagged behind Netflix and Amazon Prime in theatrical family content. 

More DreamWorks is forthcoming, according to a Hulu press release, which said the service is the “exclusive streaming home to future slates of DreamWorks Animation feature films, as well as iconic DreamWorks library films.” 

“In addition,” the press release said, “Hulu will work with DreamWorks Animation Television to develop original kids and family series for exclusive streaming based on the company’s popular franchises and upcoming feature films. 

“This marks the first time Hulu has partnered with a major studio in a multi-series commitment to debut original kids and family content.”

Families that have Hulu are the winners. 

Also worth watching this month: 

  • “God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness” — Now on Netflix, this film is the third installment in the “God’s Not Dead” series, but has a different tone than those earlier films. It seeks to build bridges in the culture war. It has a conciliatory ending. It’s the best “God’s Not Dead” yet.  
  • “The Riot and the Dance” — If you’ve ever wished someone would make a nature documentary without an evolutionary framework, then you likely will enjoy this film. 

The faith-based “Riot and the Dance” is hosted by Gordon Wilson, who travels the globe to show viewers God’s amazing creation. Wilson is senior fellow of natural history at New Saint Andrews College, a Christian school in Idaho. “Riot and the Dance” is streaming on all major platforms.  

  • “Indivisible” — This faith-based film about a military chaplain earned an “A” Cinemascore rating at the box office. It releases on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming platforms Jan. 29, telling the true story of a chaplain whose marriage nearly crumbled after he served overseas. It stars Sarah Drew and was directed by the same man (David G. Evans) who helmed “The Grace Card.” 
  • Ken Ham on ­— Answers in Genesis (AIG) and announced an agreement last year that will allow subscribers of the faith-based streaming service to watch AIG videos. Many of the teaching videos from AIG founder and president Ken Ham are now on the platform. Among them: “Genesis 1:1: The Foundational Verse of the Foundational Book,” “Rescuing Our Kids from the Lie” and “The Great Delusion.” 

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EDITOR’S NOTE – Michael Foust covers the intersection of faith and entertainment as a media reviewer for The Alabama Baptist. He also is the husband of an amazing wife and the father of four young children.