Hulu ended 2018 with 25 million subscribers, an increase of 48% year-on-year, marking its best year yet for signups and total subscriber gains, according to the business.
The US video streaming service added eight million subscribers in 2018 and expanded its on-demand library to over 85,000 episodes – adding series like The Good Doctor, Killing Eve, The Orville, Superstore and Grown-ish. The platform outperformed forecasts for its 2018 subs growth, which was predicted to reach only 23m subs.
It also generated the most advertising revenue in its history last year, increasing ad revenue by more than 45% to nearly US$1.5bn and its advertiser base by 50%.
“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.
Elsewhere, Hulu said that Hulu + Live TV customers now spend 50% of their time watching on-demand or recorded programming and claimed that over the past year it has reducing buffering on its live TV service by 90%.
It also claimed that that the median age of a Hulu viewer is 32, some 24 years younger than the average broadcast TV viewer, and that the average time subscribers spent on Hulu per-month increased by 20% during the year.
“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,” said Freer. “Looking ahead, Hulu is in the best position to be the number one choice for TV – live and on-demand, with and without commercials, both in and out of the home.”
Disney has valued The Handmaid’s Tale SVOD Hulu at around US$9.26bn, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing made in November.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said late last year that the business will be increasing investment in the streamer, most notably across programming, which will be more adult-oriented than Disney+.
“We aim to use the television production capabilities of the combined company to fuel Hulu with a lot more original programming, which will enable Hulu to compete even more aggressively in the marketplace,” he said in an earnings call in November.