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Hulu reaches 17m subscribers in 2017

handmaids taleHulu ended last year with more than 17 million total US subscribers across its subscription video-on-demand and live TV offerings.

The figure marks a 40% increase from Hulu’s last publicly reported number, with its subscriber growing by more than five million users compared to 2016.

Announcing the stats, Hulu, which has VOD and SVOD tiers, said that its total audience has grown to 54 million total unique viewers, while its on-demand library expanded to more than 75,000 television episodes across 1,700 series and titles.

It said that Hulu viewers have a median age of 31 – compared to an average age of 55 among broadcast TV viewers – and claimed that Hulu With Live TV subscribers spent more time watching content per day than the average linear TV viewer in December.

Hulu added that its advertising revenue reached US$1 billion for the first time in the company’s history in 2017 – though it did not break out full earnings or revenue figures.

Hulu CEO Randy Freer, who replaced Mike Hopkins in October, described 2017 as “a momentous year” for the company. “We took several major steps to become a 21st century direct-to-consumer media company, evolving into both an aggressive SVOD business and a formidable new live TV provider,” he said.

“The year ahead is going to be even bigger, as the company invests more in content – live, library and original – as well as technology and data to make Hulu the leading pay TV choice for consumers.”

Hulu’s future is currently unclear, however, with one of its parents, The Walt Disney Company, set to become its majority owner by acquiring the 30% stake of another, 21st Century Fox.

This is through Disney’s takeover of Fox’s entertainment assets. With Disney set to launch its own, branded global SVOD player in 2019, the Mouse House may choose to integrate this with the new player, sell its ownership stake or keep Hulu operating in the US separately.

Hulu said that the top three dramas on the service in 2017, based on hours watched, were Law & Order: SVU, This is Us and The Handmaid’s Tale (pictured). The top three comedies were South Park, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers.

Hulu also added all existing episodes of more than 600 popular series during 2017, including Futurama, 30 Rock, Lost, How I Met Your Mother, Will & Grace and Prison Break.

Hulu launched its live TV streaming service in beta last May, offering more than 50 live and on-demand channels for US$39.99 per month.

The Hulu with Live TV service includes 50 hours of recording storage, up to six individual profiles and two simultaneous streams per account.