Fresh off two Golden Globes for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu revealed today that the streaming service surpassed 17 million U.S. subscribers at the end of fiscal 2017 between its video-on-demand (VOD) and live-TV products.
That’s up more than 40 percent from when Hulu last publicly reported subscriber numbers of 12 million in May 2016.
In addition, Hulu said its total audience grew to 54 million total unique viewers in 2017.
It is not clear how many of Hulu’s subscribers are subscription VOD vs. live-TV customers.
By comparison, Netflix’s global subscribership is approaching 110 million subscribers, with 53 million subscribers in the United States.
In 2017, Hulu “took several major steps to become a 21st century direct-to-consumer media company, evolving into both an aggressive SVOD business and a formidable new live TV provider,” newly installed CEO Randy Freer said in announcing the figures. “The year ahead is going to be even bigger, as the company invests more in content — live, library and original — as well as technology and data to make Hulu the leading pay TV choice for consumers.”
Freer, a former Fox Networks exec, assumed the Hulu CEO role in October 2017 after previous chief Mike Hopkins exited to join Sony Pictures Television.
The longer-term future of Hulu remains uncertain: Disney would obtain majority control of Hulu under its mammoth pact to buy 20th Century Fox, 21st Century Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu and other assets. Hulu’s other owners include NBCUniversal (which hold 30%) and Time Warner (with a 10% stake). Disney CEO Bob Iger has said Hulu will be an “adult-oriented product,” versus the more family-targeted Disney direct-to-consumer service planned for 2019.
Hulu, for now, remains committed to winning subscribers — and has been cutting deals to bring more content to the SVOD platform.