Even before the early reviews came out in favor of The Handmaid’s Tale, it is likely Hulu was expecting a success. After all, the TV series is based on a much-loved book by Margaret Atwood, a book that has never been out of print since it was published in 1985.
Now, since the first three episodes have aired on Hulu, fans are starting a discussion about the series that has, effectively, been going on since the book was originally released. And, since the recent election of Donald Trump in the U.S., for many women, The Handmaid’s Tale is an all too scary look at how life could become if allowed so.
Added into the topical discussion, Hulu has cleverly coveted stars that bring with them their own already built-in fan base. As The New Yorker points out, the lead character, Offred, is played by Mad Men actress, Elizabeth Moss. Samira Wiley, best known for her role in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, will play Offred’s friend, Moira. Alexis Bledel, of Gilmore Girls fame, plays Ofglen, Offred’s shopping partner. Already, people will be watching The Handmaid’s Tale for their favorite actresses, if not for the current political comparison.
It is this sort of discussion that creates buzz about television shows and draws in new viewers. For Hulu, this is, potentially, the end game. After all, it has always lagged behind the other big television providers, Netflix and Amazon. So, could The Handmaid’s Tale be exactly what Hulu needed to elevate it to Netflix and Amazon proportions?
According to Forbes, eMarketer has predicted that “Netflix will have 128 million users by the end of this year and that Amazon will have 85.3 million.” By comparison, Hulu is dragging behind at a predicted viewership of only 32 million. The Handmaid’s Tale could change all that, or that is likely what Hulu hopes for.
However, Hulu has one distinct disadvantage when it comes to screening their content: you can only do it if you are a resident of the U.S. For those fans of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel who live in Australia –as yet — no official announcement on whether it will air there all not. Some local media outlets such as News.com.au and The Sydney Morning Herald are writing about The Handmaid’s Tale. Yet, even if they have had access to early screeners, they are, generally, following their articles with the disclaimer that an Australian provider has not yet been announced. Otherwise, they are omitting the relevant viewing information altogether.
For both Netflix and Amazon Prime, even when they were U.S. only content, there were ways around the region coding that both tended to ignore. Now, both providers are available outside of the U.S., even if the content varies due to regional distribution rights. However, when it comes to their original content, these shows are usually offered across all regions. There are some instances where content is delayed, however. For example, Amazon Originals, Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent have delayed current seasons thanks to the Australian provider, Stan, currently owning the local rights according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Hulu, on the other hand, seems to been vigilant in making sure their content remains on U.S. soil. Although, some of their content does wind up on Stan. The Mindy Project and 11.22.63 being examples of Hulu content available in Australia.
However, as seems the inevitable case in regard to The Handmaid’s Tale, content from Hulu arrives in Australia at a later date. This is a fact that infuriates local television fans who miss out on the associated social media discussion when this occurs. For those who complain about the high piracy rate among Australians, now is the time to start pointing the finger because delayed viewing is a surefire way that many Australian viewers justify their reasoning behind piracy.
At the time of publication, Hulu and Stan had been approached via Twitter for information in regard to when The Handmaid’s Tale will air in Australia. So far, both providers have not responded.
The trailer for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale is below.
Did you watch The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu? Or, are you in Australia and still waiting for provider news? Let us know by commenting below.
The Handmaid’s Tale will air exclusively on Hulu from April 26. Viewers outside of the U.S. will need to tune into their local providers to find out if The Handmaid’s Tale will be screened locally.
[Featured Image by Hulu]