Hulu tops 25 million total subscribers in 2018

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019
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Double-Digit Gains Fueled By Investments In Technology and Exclusive Content To Give Viewers a Better TV Experience, With More Choice and Control

SANTA MONICA, CA — Hulu announced today that it added 8 million subscribers in 2018 and closed its fiscal year with more than 25 million total subscribers across its subscription on demand (SVOD) and live TV plans in the U.S. Today’s news marks a 48% subscriber increase year over year and catapults Hulu’s customer reach beyond that of the country’s largest cable and satellite pay TV providers.

“Consumers have spoken loudly about their desire for more choice and control in their TV experience. They are seeing the enormous benefits of streaming, they’re deciding which content and brands are most important to them, and they’re choosing Hulu,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer. “In 2018, Hulu led the industry in attracting and engaging subscribers, building a powerful technology stack and cultivating a brand that both consumers and advertisers love. Looking ahead, Hulu is in the best position to be the #1 choice for TV – live and on-demand, with and without commercials, both in and out of the home.”

One of the more notable viewing trends Hulu saw in 2018 was that consumers place a great deal of value on having a comprehensive, flexible viewing experience. Viewers who subscribe to Hulu + Live TV actually spend 50% of their time watching on-demand or recorded programming. To fuel its momentum, Hulu invested significantly in securing exclusive content and enhancing its streaming technology to support a superior experience across its live and on-demand plans.

Home to more TV episodes than any U.S. streaming service(1), Hulu expanded its on-demand library to over 85,000 episodes in 2018, adding even more hit current series to its roster including The Good Doctor, Killing Eve, The Orville, Superstore and Grown-ish and becoming the exclusive home to every season of beloved and current series like ER, Lost, King of the Hill, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Living Single and Animaniacs. With its acclaimed Hulu Originals — which received a company record of 27 Emmy nominations in 2018 — and its massive offering of broadcast, cable and premium channel programming, Hulu firmly established itself as the only place where viewers can watch full seasons of nearly all (80%) of this past year’s Emmy-nominated programming.

Over the past 12 months, Hulu’s technology and product teams dramatically improved the stability and usability of its Live TV service (Hulu + Live TV), reducing buffering by 90% and introducing new features like live game start notifications and an enhanced channel guide so viewers can get to their favorite content faster. The company also expanded its local affiliate support to over 970 local live stations.

In addition, Hulu added more choice to its content packages in 2018 with the launch of STARZ as its fourth premium content add-on (joining HBO, Cinemax and Showtime) as well as eight live Discovery networks and a new Spanish-language live TV add-on, which includes live programming from ESPN Deportes, Universo, CNN En Español and History Channel En Español.

Other Hulu 2018 highlights include:

  • Hulu was a highly sought-after partner to brands in 2018. The company grew its advertising revenue more than 45% to nearly $1.5 billion – the most in the Hulu’s history – and increased its advertiser base by 50%.
  • Viewers are even more engaged with Hulu. The average time spent on Hulu per subscriber each month increased 20% in 2018.
  • The median age of a Hulu viewer is 32 – nearly 25 years younger than the average broadcast TV viewer (56) – and the average annual household income of a Hulu viewer rose to $93,000 in 2018.(2)
  • Binge viewing is prevalent on Hulu. Looking at the top 100 shows on Hulu, over half of all viewing sessions consist of 3 or more episodes of the same series.
  • Hulu Documentaries Minding The Gap and Crime + Punishment, which both debuted in 2018, were recently named to the Oscar Documentary Feature shortlist earlier this month. Minding The Gap was named “Best Documentary” by the 2018 New York Film Critics Circle, received the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has maintained a 100% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes ever since its debut.
  • Following its two Golden Globe wins for Season 1, Hulu’s hit drama The Handmaid’s Tale returned in Season 2 with a +76% increase in total consumption compared to Season 1.
  • Castle Rock was Hulu’s highest performing new original of 2018 (by both reach and consumption) and was the second-highest performing Hulu Original overall this year, behind only The Handmaid’s Tale.

2018 marked Hulu’s largest-ever gains in signups and total subscribers, and the most advertising revenue in the company’s history. In 2019, Hulu will take full advantage of its momentum and capitalize on the massive opportunity ahead to become the #1 choice for television.

1. Hulu Internal Data and Ampere Analysis
2. Median Age Source: Hulu Internal Portal, Q4 2018; Nielsen nPower, Broadcast Prime Median Age, Broadcast Q4 2018. Household Income Source: comScore Video Metrix, 6 month average May-October 2018, vs. 6 month average May-October 2017