Hulu has surpassed 800,000 live TV subscribers, company CEO Randy Freer told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin at the Code Conference.
The revelation comes just weeks after Hulu announced it had about 20 million total subscribers, a number that includes both live TV and SVOD customers, and a little over a year after Hulu launched its live TV offering in beta form.
“We had one of our best months ever in April, and [the service] continues to grow,” Freer said.
He noted that active Hulu subscribers spent about 100 hours with the service in April. “And it looks like May is going to surpass that considerably,” Freer added.
The live TV subscriber milestone puts Hulu on a clear path to the 1 million mark, even as it faces stiff competition from a virtual MVPD sector that includes Dish’s Sling TV (2.3 million subs), AT&T’s DirecTV Now (1.46 million subs), as well as YouTube TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and Philo.
Freer said Hulu’s ability to package its live TV service with an SVOD offering with popular originals will help it stand from the pack.
“What people lose sight of for us, in the $39.99 package [is] you get live TV plus you get the entire Hulu on-demand service – so that’s 75,000 episodes of television, it’s original programming, it’s short-form, it’s all of the things that people love,” he said. “When you look at that package…I think we’re going to see that tick up and we’ll do great against others in the marketplace.”
Boorstin also pressed Freer for his thoughts about how the weight of ownership of Hulu could change as Disney and Comcast wrestle over Fox. He wouldn’t take the bait when asked which would make for a better controlling owner of Hulu.
“We don’t really think about it that way,” he said. “If we do everything we can, each and every day to make Hulu better for our customers, we drive subscribers,” he said. “When all of this shakes out, however it all shakes out, we’ll be in a great position to help that majority owner drive their business as well.”
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