Hulu kicked off the New Year with a big announcement. The Netflix streaming video rival has grown to 17 million total subscribers at the end of 2017. This figure includes subscribers to its on-demand subscription services and live TV plans in the U.S. This is an increase of 5 million subscribers, or 40 percent, over 2016. Hulu said it now has an audience of approximately 54 million total unique viewers. By comparison, at the end of the third quarter, Netflix had 104.02 million paid members.
‘2017 was a momentous year for Hulu. We took several major steps to become a 21st century direct-to-consumer media company, evolving into both an aggressive SVOD business and a formidable new live TV provider,’ said Hulu CEO Randy Freer in a press release. ‘The year ahead is going to be even bigger, as the company invests more in content – live, library and original – as well as technology and data to make Hulu the leading pay TV choice for consumers.’
Hulu’s on-demand library now offers more than 75,000 episodes of 1,700 different programs. According to Hulu, this is more than double what any other leading streaming service offers. Among its popular programs are This Is Us, Designated Survivor, Black-ish, Bob’s Burgers, Will & Grace, Golden Girls and Family Matters. Subscribers also get access to Hulu Originals including The Handmaid’s Tale, Shut Eye, The Mindy Project, Future Man, East Los High and Chance.
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Hulu offered additional highlights to its service, heading into the New Year:
- Awards: Hulu won 10 Emmy awards, including the Outstanding Drama Emmy for The Handmaid’s Tail, the first such award for a streaming service, and two Golden Globes.
- Advertising: In 2017, Hulu had ad revenue of $1 billion for the first time.
- Demographics: Hulu viewers had a median age of 31 and a median household income of $92,000.
- Engagement: Viewers who subscribed to a Hulu live TV plan watched more TV per day than the average linear TV viewer.
- Most-watched: The most-watched drama series on Hulu in 2017 were Law & Order: SVU, This Is Us and The Handmaid’s Tale. The most-watched comedies on Hulu in 2017 were South Park, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers.
For on-demand viewing, Hulu has two plans: a no commercials plan for $11.99 a month after a free month or a limited commercials plan for $7.99 a month after a free month. The on-demand packages include full seasons of exclusive series, current episodes of top shows, classic programs, Hulu originals, movies, kids shows, movie trailers and more.
Hulu’s live TV plans included Hulu’s on-demand viewing and live TV from 50+ channels, which vary based on location, including, sports, news and entertainment channels. Subscribers can record up to 50 hours with enhanced cloud DVR and stream on multiple devices at home and on the go. The packages start at $39.99 a month after a free month trial.. Add-ons are available for HBO, Cinemax and Showtime for an additional monthly fee.
Hulu may never be able to take over Netflix in terms of total subscribers, but it is putting up some impressive numbers. The streaming service offers exclusive programming as well as Hulu Originals which are proving to be both award-winning and popular which will draw and retain subscribers, as will the live TV plans. The originals and live TV plans are a way for Hulu to differentiate itself from Netflix and other streaming providers. Another advantage Hulu has is that it earns advertising revenue through its limited commercials plan, giving it another revenue stream which it can use to reinvest in content. Hulu may not be Netflix, but it is successful in its own right.