Hulu Nears 12M U.S. Subscribers

Hulu is looking to expand its repertoire with a new virtual MVPD service that will feature skinny TV packages, but there’s still plenty of life left in its traditional over-the-top SVOD service.

Hulu, which competes with Netflix and Amazon on the SVOD front, is announcing at its Upfront presentation in New York today that it is nearing 12 million subscribers in the U.S. amid annual growth rate of more than 30%. Hulu expects to reach that subscriber milestone by the end of the month. 

“Over the past year, we’ve propelled Hulu by adding an extraordinary array of original series, hit broadcast and cable shows and blockbuster movies to our content portfolio -- all of which has led to incredible growth in subscribers and engagement,” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said, in a statement. “In 2016, we’re going even bigger and bolder. We’ll expand our offering with more premium content and brand new ad measurement products that will continue to make Hulu the leader in choice for seamless entertainment and advertising experiences.”

Hopkins made not of Hulu’s coming OTT-TV service at the Upfront, but didn't offer more detail. 

The OTT specialist also announced the launch of Hulu Documentary Films, and its exclusive acquisition of The Beatles: Eight Days A Week  (working title) from Director Ron Howard, and a deal with BrightLine that will make Hulu “the first streaming service to deliver interactive advertising units built exclusively for the living room. Hulu expects to launch interactive ad units this summer. 

The Ron Howard film, the first documentary feature to premiere exclusively on Hulu following its theatrical run, will focus on the time period from the early Beatles’ journey in the days of The Cavern Club in Liverpool to their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966, Hulu said. 

Hulu also inked new partnerships with Nielsen and Millward Brown to deliver  new measurement tools. Hulu said the collaboration with Nielsen that will enable digital ad measurement through Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings to capture OTT viewing in the living room environment for the first time, offering a way to deliver accurate viewership measurement beyond the PC.  Hulu said support will be extended to all “Hulu-enabled living room devices,” including Roku players, and PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles. 

Hulu said it will also deliver increased advertising effectiveness insights and tools through a new partnership with multinational market research firm, Millward Brown, noting that Magna Global, along with clients such as Arby’s, Aveeno, BMW, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, FCA US LLC and IHOP, are on board as beta partners for the initiative. 

“Hulu offers brands the most effective way to reach the streaming audience, at scale, in the living room,” Peter Naylor, Hulu SVP of advertising sales, said in a statement. “The partnerships we’ve announced today with Nielsen, Millward Brown and BrightLine point to the future of television and everything that's possible in a connected TV environment -- and we are happy to be leading the way in both creativity and measurement.”

Hulu said it inked season renewals for originals The Path and The Mindy Project, and announced a new election special from Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog that will premiere later this year.