For someone who built a career on awkward situational comedy, Mindy Kaling was true to form in a Cannes Lions session that had more uncomfortable, laugh-filled pauses than a typical episode of “The Office.” Joined by Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins, the two went back-and-forth discussing Hulu’s resurrection of Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” and its impact on over-the-top streaming.
Kaling’s journey from minor character on network television to writer, producer and star of a show that is changing how we consume broadcast content is inspirational and relatable. When “The Mindy Project” left network TV and became the center of Hulu’s exclusive comedy programming, no one knew whether success would follow. As the show enters its fifth season, Hopkins notes that the Hulu audience has grown since Mindy left the networks.
As VOD and over-the-top streaming services become a mainstay of American television, new questions begin to emerge, including the question of rolling out weekly episodes vs. bingeworthy seasons all-at-once. A debate pitting HBO and its on-demand service against Netflix and Amazon.
Mindy rolls out an episode at a time, a decision Hopkins notes is a based on pretty extensive research. He assured the audience that a large group of viewers do not like an entire season posted at once because they feel pressure to watch or catch up to friends who are further along. A sentiment you can relate to if you have ever had to yell “no spoilers!” at a colleague.
Unsurprisingly, it also seems to be a pretty good sales tool as you can encourage increased spend around cliffhangers and finales. Kaling and Hopkins spoke about the options that over-the-top streaming creates for advertisers, including more cerebral and organic-feeling brand integrations like the ones seen on “The Mindy Project.”
Further, Hopkins dropped the news that Hulu is planning a live streaming service for early 2017 that would help advertisers capitalize on an online audience for live sports, news and award shows.
As Kaling pushed for a live episode of “The Mindy Project,” revealed she was finishing up a movie script and planning to write a novel, you realize the most impressive thing about Kaling is not how she worked her way to superstar status, but how she found time in her schedule to join us in France.