Hulu tops 4 million paid subscribers

Acting Hulu CEO Andy Forssell posted some interesting stats to the Hulu blog earlier today. In the first quarter of 2013, Hulu Plus surpassed 4 million subscribers, and their subscription numbers doubled during 2012.

Source: http://blog.hulu.com/

Compare Hulu's 4 million (and climbing rapidly) paid subscribers to Canadian cable/satellite subscriber numbers at the end of 2012:
  • Shaw: 3.04M (907,330 of which are satellite)
  • Rogers cable: 2.25M
  • Bell Fibe & Satellite: 2.16M (about 2M of which are satellite).
  • Videotron: 1.86M
If you include all of the TV distribution companies across the country, then according to the CRTC, 8.7M Canadians subscribed to broadcast TV services at the end of 2012. If Hulu continues their rate of growth they'll have more subscribers than all of Canada's cable, satellite, and IPTV distributors combined by sometime in early 2014.

Hulu's revenue per subscriber is lower than the traditional companies, but on the other hand they know exactly what their subscribers watch and when they watch it. That allows them to sell highly targeted (= more expensive) advertising as a result, and their users can't fast forward or skip over the ads. Forssell doesn't disclose Hulu's advertising revenue, saying only that Hulu is currently "delivering 1 in 3 of all premium video ads in the U.S.", but you can bet it's a significant part of their business plan going forward. I've been using Hulu Plus for over a year now, and honestly the ads don't bother me. In a typical one hour show you get 3 or 4 breaks of 20-60 seconds, and they even give you a little status bar in the top left corner when ads are running to tell you how much time remains before your show resumes.

Hulu-style viewing is the wave of the future - let's hope they keep growing and their media company owners don't ruin a great thing. See here for some tips on how to get Hulu working outside of the US.

Edited 2013-09-27 - fixed Shaw subscriber numbers
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