Reality TV gets a bit of a bad rap. Reality TV viewers often even more so. Hayu targets a specific fanbase, sure — but that fanbase is big — and it wants what hayu is putting down. Complete box sets of shows, 3000 episodes of mindless guilty pleasures, at the same time as the US, for less than the price of a magazine a month? Sign me up.
"We’re excited to be unveiling March 22 as the launch date for hayu in Australia," NBCUniversal's Jay McNamara, EVP Strategy Development and Analysis confirmed today.
Now I know what you're thinking. Why a separate service just for this? Why not just use Netflix/Stan/Presto? Take a look at how this is marketed, then think about the other services out there. The audience for hayu is your Kim Kardashian: Hollywood players, your Bachelor devotees and the Candy Crush fans in your life. Think there's not enough of them to keep a service like hayu going? Think again.
The Kardashians are a good example here, so I'll keep using it. There's 11 seasons of the main show, plus four spin off series — followed by over 100 million Facebook fans. Caitlin Jenner was the fastest person on twitter to reach one million followers. Real Housewives has consistently been in the top searchd reality shows on Google for the last six years. Top Chef has been recreated in 13 countries all over the world.
It may not have the respect a HBO historical drama, but this stuff is popular. 94 per cent of women that watch pay TV of some description, watch reality TV. So why not just search for it on Netflix? Think of how that content is marketed. Look at how hayu is marketed. Hayu is welcoming to reality fans.
To say hayu is social-media centric is an understatement. Not only is it directly targeted to Kardashian fans, there are functions that allow you to share short "snippets" — classic quotes from Real Housewives, mostly — directly to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
"Curated by reality experts for reality fans, hayu is fully integrated with news feeds and social media and, uniquely, its next-generation functionality will enable Australian fans to share some of the content they love."
The $5.99 per month price tag was designed to make hayu a "no brainer rather than a household discussion" McNamara told Gizmodo, comparing the service to a "me-time treat".
The ratings system is a little different to regular streaming services, as well. Instead of a star rating, you give each show an "Vibe" rating with an emoji — is it funny, sad, touching? You can search by emotion to find a program that suits your current mood.
As for content, hayu is hinged on NBC's huge back catologue of content - 12,000 episodes of 469 series — 1,700 hours per year of original reality programming. The series are arranged in "Box Sets" so you can binge watch a series from the very beginning.
I'll be trialling the service between now and launch, to see if it lives up to my expectations of providing me with endless glorious background noise and world class selective editing.