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Hulu + Live TV Adds Whopping 300K Subscribers in Fiscal Q1, but vMVPD Drives Up Disney's Overall Streaming Costs

(Image credit: Hulu)

Disney said its virtual pay TV service Hulu + Live TV finished its fiscal first quarter at 4.3 million subscribers, up from 4 million customers in the quarter ended September 30. 

Overall Hulu subscribers increased by 1.5 million in the quarter, reaching 45.3 million. 

A 300,000 subscriber growth quarter is a really good metric for any pay TV service. But highlighting the core business dilemma facing all the so-called vMVPDs, costs to license programming networks continue to surge. Disney said on Thursday during its fiscal Q1 report that Hulu + Live TV content licensing spending will be a key component of an overall $800 million to $1 billion increase in programming and production cost for Disney's streaming operations in fiscal Q2. 

Also read: Disney Reports Jump to 196.4 Million Streaming Subscribers

In November, Disney raised prices for Hulu across the board. The premium iteration of Hulu + Live TV, which includes the Hulu SVOD service with no commercials, as well as access to Disney Plus and ESPN Plus through the Disney Bundle, is now priced at a very traditional pay TV-like $76 a month. 

Disney also quietly removed a free trial option. 

Hulu + Live TV bundles more than 75 networks from most of the major conglomerates. 

Daniel Frankel
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!