Hulu’s Revenue to Pass $1 Billion This Year

CEO Mike Hopkins puts subscriber numbers at 5 million

Hulu has had a solid year: the multiple-broadcaster joint venture is on track to break $1 billion in revenue for its owners this year, thanks in large part to the strength of subscription revenue and deep ad partnerships across its series, some of which are greenlit on the condition that they land sponsorships.

Revenue, said newly appointed CEO Mike Hopkins, is "up from $695 million in 2012." Hopkins' blog post on the year can be found here, but here's the literal money quote: "When you think about the fact that Hulu first launched out of beta in 2008, it’s quite an impressive feat to scale the business from zero to $1 billion over the course of just six years."

A lot of the company's growth has to do with increased adoption of Hulu Plus. Hulu has slowly amped up the number of ads in its free service and closed off larger and larger portions of its content to non-paying customers. As it's done that, Hulu has also brought on more and more partners, including boutique vintage movie distribution company The Criterion Collection, which shows classics (several of which it don't have in-print DVD pressings) ad-free in addition to the digital network's ad-supported content.

In addition to beefing up international business (Hulu's Japanese arm is growing), the number of advertisers on the books has increased, though Hulu has kept mum about how much (or indeed, whether) the uptick in sponsors has fed increased revenue. "In 2013, we saw our roster of advertisers expand to more than 1,000 brands–a 15 percent increase over last year," Hopkins wrote. With increased spend on the original content front and high-profile series like The Wrong Mans getting solid notices from critics (including this one), the company is increasing its outlay accordingly, and 2014 should see a higher profile for the digital service.

Publish date: December 18, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT