Hulu Sees Record Subscriber Growth Amid Changing Ownership

(Bloomberg) -- Hulu LLC has more than 25 million subscribers for its live-TV and on-demand services, marking its largest annual increase as it competes with Netflix Inc. and others for streaming dominance.

  • Hulu added 8 million subscribers last year across both products -- a 48 percent boost compared with a year ago, the company said in a statement Tuesday. The on-demand service blends original TV series and licensed shows, much like Netflix, while the live-TV offering mimics a cable or satellite package.
  • Hulu said it generated nearly $1.5 billion in advertising revenue, an increase of more than 45 percent compared with 2017.

Key Insights

  • Hulu’s growth last year was fueled partly by its first original hit show, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel set in a dystopian future.
  • Chief Executive Officer Randy Freer, a veteran of 21st Century Fox Inc., is revamping the company after taking over in October 2017. In June, Hulu announced a reorganization that included several top executives leaving the company.
  • Hulu’s growth comes at a moment of uncertainty for the company, which is owned by four of the world’s largest media giants. One of its owners, Walt Disney Co., is acquiring assets from co-owner Fox, including a stake in Hulu. A third co-owner, Comcast Corp., recently gained three board seats. The owners have reported substantial losses from their stakes in the company.

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