Hulu's online video premium service, Hulu Plus, will pass 1 million subscribers this year, writes CEO Jason Kilar in a blog post. The service, which exited beta in November, also is on track to see revenues of around $500 million for the year, up from the $263 million Hulu said it earned in 2010. Kilar said revenues in the first quarter of this year were 90 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2010.
"It is still very early days for online video and our biggest opportunities/challenges are clearly still in front of us," he said. "We're thankful for--and humbled by--the response we've received these past 90 days from our users, advertisers, and content partners."
Speaking of content partners, Kilar said Hulu and Hulu Plus now have 264, an increase of 53 from a year ago, including Viacom properties MTV, Comedy Central and BET. Kilar said he expected $300 million in revenues would be disbursed to the content community.
"As a young company (we just reached our third anniversary since the public launch of Hulu.com), we're excited about that number and we also expect it to grow aggressively in the years to come," he wrote.
Hulu also has picked up advertisers in the past year, with 289 on board this past quarter, an increase of 95 from a year ago.
Kilar and Hulu have faced an uphill battle, as well as sometimes-uncertain support from the media triumvirate that owns the company, News Corp., Disney and NBC Universal.
In February, Kilar wrote a blog that ripped traditional TV as outdated and no longer relevant to consumers.
"Consumers want TV to be more convenient for them," he said. "People want programs to start at a time that is convenient for their schedules, not at a time dictated to them. Consumption of original TV episodes will eventually mirror theatrical movie attendance: big opening Friday nights, but more consumption will be in the days and weeks afterward. Consumers also want the freedom to be able to watch TV on whatever screen is most convenient for them, be it a smartphone, a tablet, a PC, or, yes, a TV."
Hulu's owners were less-than thrilled to say the least.
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