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Hulu has closed another fruitful year, expanding 60% from 2010 to approximately $420 million in revenue, according to CEO Jason Kilar. Despite a "soft advertising market" in the second half of 2011, the site's ad business grew aggressively. The company has served over 1,000 brand advertisers since 2008. Its premium offering has also been successful, tallying 1.5 million paying members, supposedly making it the fastest growing video subscription service (online or offline) in US history.
Hulu says it's attracting more than twice the rate of subscribers every day compared to the same time last year (shortly after Hulu Plus launched) and the company's paid service is expected to account for more than half of its overall business later in 2012. The outfit counted less than 300,000 customers in the fourth quarter of 2010 and roughly 500,000 in the first quarter of 2011. Membership increased steadily throughout the year and shows no sign of slowing down in the immediate future.
The streaming platform marked a healthy expansion of its video offerings for both free and paid viewers during 2011. Its free catalog grew by 40% compared to the prior year and its paid selection grew more than 105%. Hulu boasts current season TV episodes from five of the six largest US broadcast networks, adding more than a dozen shows to its roster over the past year. Kilar said the company plans to keep that momentum rolling, allocating approximately half a billion dollars to content in 2012.
Along with providing more videos, the service is focusing on making it easier for viewers to access Hulu. The company "invested heavily" in the development of Hulu Plus apps for various devices, including the Xbox 360, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, select Android phones, as well as numerous smart TVs and Blu-ray players. In his closing comments, Kilar couldn't resist jabbing Netflix, saying Hulu Plus' dual revenue stream lets it compensate content owners ~50% more per subscriber than its rivals.
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