Hulu at 1.5M Paying Subscribers Says C.E.O.

Hulu, the online television streaming service owned by NBCUniversal, News Corp., The Walt Disney Company and Providence Equity Partners, now has 1.5 million paying subscribers for its premium “Hulu Plus” service, according to a blog post by Chief Executive Jason Kilar. That’s a jump from roughly 300,000 paying subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2010. Kilar went on to say that the company grew 60% from 2010 to approximately $420 million in revenue. In spite of Hulu’s advances, Netflix still holds a strong the lead in the online television space, with a reported 23.8 million subscribers.

BLOG POST
We just closed the books on a big 2011 for Hulu. As a team, we recently reflected on our 2011 investments in innovation and thought it would be an appropriate time to share some of those thoughts via this post.

First, some results:

- We grew the business 60% from 2010 to approximately $420 million in revenue. We exceeded our plan despite the soft advertising market (economy) in the second half of 2011. Overall the Hulu ad business grew aggressively and Hulu Plus materially exceeded our plan.

- Hulu Plus now has more than 1.5 million paying subscribers and this number continues to grow extremely fast. Hulu Plus has reached 1.5 million paid subscribers faster than any video subscription service launch (online or offline) in U.S. history. We are attracting more than 2x the number of subscribers each day when compared to this time last year. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, we expect our subscription services to account for more than half of Hulu’s overall business later this year.

- In 2011, we dramatically expanded the content available to Hulu and Hulu Plus customers. Hulu’s content offering grew approximately 40% vs 2010; Hulu Plus’ content offering grew more than 105%. Hulu Plus is the only online video subscription service that offers current season content from 5 of the 6 largest U.S. broadcast networks, with shows from The CW and Univision added this past quarter. In 2011, we added a long roster of great current series, including Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Misfits, Revenge, Terra Nova, Up All Night, New Girl, Una Familia Con Suerte, The Secret Circle, Hart of Dixie, Ringer, Community and many more.

- In 2011, we invested heavily in the development of apps that empower users to access Hulu Plus from a wide variety of devices. Hulu Plus is now accessible on leading consumer electronics devices and mobile operating systems with a combined installed base of over 200 million. Some of the new devices we developed custom applications for include: Microsoft Xbox 360, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble’s NOOK Tablet, select Android smartphones, LG, Panasonic and VIZIO TVs and Blu-ray players, and many more.

- The innovative Hulu advertising service continues to lead the online video advertising market, with the largest market share of a rapidly expanding market. We have now served over 1,000 brand advertisers in our company’s short history. We are relentless in our mission to be the most effective video advertising service on the planet, which we believe is a function of respecting users and empowering them with tools like Hulu Ad Swap and Hulu Ad Selector.

As you might expect based on the 2011 results mentioned above and our recent launch of Hulu in Japan, we as a team are very bullish on where things go from here. We have conviction that digital ultimately becomes the primary way that consumers across the globe choose to access content. We have been focused on building a strong foundation that empowers the Hulu team to best serve customers (users, advertisers, and content owners). As just one example, our dual revenue stream Hulu Plus business model enables us to compensate content owners much more than anyone else in the online subscription market on a per subscriber basis. At scale, our model allows us to profitably pay content owners approximately 50% more in content licensing fees per subscriber when compared to other similarly priced online subscription services. We believe our approach will enable us to secure more valuable content for our users and to secure content in more attractive windows than would otherwise be possible. To that end, we are excited to invest approximately half a billion in content in 2012 on behalf of our users.

Thank you for continuing to be a part of this Hulu journey and for allowing us to serve you. We will remain relentless in our pursuit of better ways.

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