Hulu closed 2017 on a high note.
Hulu’s advertising revenue crossed $1 billion for the first time in 2017, the company revealed Tuesday.
Underpinning its ad momentum was the growth of Hulu’s subscriber base, which increased 40% year over year from 12 million paid subscribers in 2016 to 17 million in 2017. Those figures include both on-demand and live TV subscribers.
While that figure pales in comparison to Netflix’s more than 52 million paid subscribers in the US, the continued momentum in its 11th year is a positive sign.
Hulu is a hybrid of subscription and ad-supported revenue (a strategy some predict Netflix will soon adopt to combat an inevitable future slowdown in subscriber growth).
Hulu now claims audience reach of 54 million unique viewers.
2017 was a big year for the streaming video provider, which switched CEOs in October.
And 2018 will bring its own changes – including a new majority investor in Disney, which will approximately double its stake from 30% to 60% if its bid for Fox goes through.
“We 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,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer in a written statement.
“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.”
Live TV was the breakout star of Hulu’s subscription business in 2017. Hulu’s $39.99-per-month service created a comprehensive bundle of programming from ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS, Scripps and more, to rival skinny bundles from competitors like YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and Dish’s Sling TV.
On the ad platform side, Hulu created an advanced TV stack to support its private marketplace of premium long-form video.
“We sit on this war chest of first-party data," Doug Fleming, Hulu’s head of advanced TV, said in a recent AdExchanger interview. "We're looking toward building out our own internal data mart, to take all the behaviors we get from the live and SVOD services and allow advertisers to marry data assets together."