Although not the largest movie & TV streaming service, Hulu has seen significant growth since its inception. What makes Hulu unique is that it is both ad-based and subscription-based.
Hulu has several subscription options. Its cheapest option (available from $5.99 to $7.99 per month), has limited commercial breaks. Its live TV option also has some ad slots to sell across channels, while its larger subscription option ($11.99 monthly) is almost entirely ad-free.
The service’s continued subscription base has grown 30% year over year, with over 12 million subscribers reported in 2016. Projections for 2020 estimate Hulu will have approximately 35.8 million users.
Since most advertisers care more about the size of video viewership than subscriptions, Hulu says it doesn’t plan to continue reporting subscription numbers to the public. Moreover, the service doesn’t believe those numbers are a true reflection of viewership. This summer, Hulu had 47 million monthly unique viewers, and 33 million of those were in the ad-supported subscription tier.
With Hulu’s continued growth, building its ad sales research department was a smart move. In the last 18 months, this department has doubled in size from 6 to 12 professionals who came from various backgrounds in the industry, e.g. television networks, research firms and ad agencies. The increase in staff will allow Hulu to better evaluate advertising effectiveness, and conduct more precise research on their viewer and streaming consumption. According to a spokesperson, Hulu continues to strive toward being “TV all in one place.”