Hulu subscriber base grows to 28 million

Hulu said on Wednesday that it now has 26.8 million paid subscribers on its service, with an additional 1.3 million who use promotional accounts.(George Kraychyk/Hulu)

(CNN) — Hulu said on Wednesday that it now has 26.8 million paid subscribers on its service, with an additional 1.3 million who use promotional accounts.

At 28 million subscribers total, that’s 3 million more than Hulu had at the end of 2018.

The increase is a sizable one for the streaming video company. But Hulu still lags far behind Netflix, which has nearly 150 million subscribers globally, 60 million of whom are from the United States. Hulu is available only in the United States.

Hulu also has a different revenue model than Netflix because it has a plan that includes commercials as well as an ad-free version. Netflix doesn’t sell ads.

“In today’s direct-to-consumer world, viewers are demanding better when it comes to TV — from the user experience to their content choices to the advertising,” Randy Freer, Hulu CEO, said in a statement.

Freer added that the streaming company’s continued growth and its lineup of content “reflect our deep investment in product, programming, brand, customer experience and business strategy.”

Hulu also unveiled a slate of new programs on Wednesday ahead of its presentation at the digital NewFronts in New York. The company greenlit “The Dropout,” a limited series about rise and fall of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. “SNL” cast member Kate McKinnon will play Holmes. Hulu did not say when “The Dropout” would debut.

Hulu also said that it will be expanding its partnership with Marvel Television with two new live-action series, “Ghost Rider” and “Helstrom.” Both shows will debut in 2020.

The new series join Hulu’s growing slate of Marvel shows including “Runaways” and the recently announced “Howard the Duck” and “M.O.D.O.K.”

Freer called Marvel one of “most successful and recognizable” brands in the world.

“Just look at this weekend’s box office,” Freer said at Wednesday’s presentation, referring to the record-breaking opening of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame.”

Disney became the majority stakeholder in Hulu after it closed a deal to buy most of Fox’s assets earlier this year. NBCUniversal is the only other owner with roughly 30%. AT&T, which owns CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia, announced last month that it is selling its minority stake in Hulu back to the streaming video service.

Disney envisions Hulu as a big part of its streaming strategy. When the company debuted its Disney+ service to investors last month, it also spoke at length about how Hulu fits into its overall streaming strategy.

 

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