Hulu announced today that its U.S.-based subscriber base jumped by 40 percent in the past year, or 8 million subscribers, to 28 million total. This figure includes 1.3 million people who are currently signed up for the service for free via various promotions.
“In today’s direct-to-consumer world, viewers are demanding better when it comes to TV,” Hulu CEO Randy Freer said in a statement, “from the user experience to their content choices to the advertising.”
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The new milestone secures Hulu’s third-place position in the streaming market behind Netflix, with 149 million subscribers, and Amazon Prime Video, with 75 million subscribers. And it’s a crowded playing field: HBO Now and CBS (both with 8 million subscribers) round out the top five.
One issue for Hulu is that it’s U.S.-only. (Netflix has 60 million subscribers just in the U.S.) But international expansion is in the works. And two new heavyweights—Disney (Hulu’s primary owner) and Apple—are coming on board this year with their own offerings, making Hulu’s need to expand even more acute.
As you might expect, Hulu has a lot of plans around content and riding the binging wave. It will debut a new “binge advertising experience” by the end of 2019. And it will release two Marvel series in 2020 that are perhaps too adult for Disney+, which is family-focused.