Hulu has 82M viewers, and most of them are seeing ads

For Hulu, ad revenue will likely be a key driver of making the company profitable. (Hulu)

Hulu has broken out some new total audience figures and revealed just how many of those total viewers are watching the company’s ad-supported streaming service.

Peter Naylor, senior vice president and head of advertising sales at Hulu, said that his company counts 82 million overall viewers, and added that nearly 70% of those viewers are on Hulu’s $5.99-per-month ad-supported plan. According to Variety, that works out to 58 million, or an average of 2.9 viewers per Hulu account.

Naylor’s comments add some context for figures that Hulu disclosed earlier this month. The company said it now has more than 28 million total customers (26.8 million paid subscribers and 1.3 million promotional accounts). The company also said that its ad-supported audience grew by 43% year over year and that total ad-supported hours watched on Hulu increased by 82% year over year.

For Hulu, ad revenue will likely be a key driver of making the company profitable. Disney, which now has majority control of Hulu, predicted that the streaming service’s losses will peak this year at $1.5 billion, and that Hulu will achieve profitability by 2023 or 2024.

RELATED: Hulu says it now has 26.8M paid subscribers

Hulu has been taking steps to make its ad experience more attractive to marketers, and the company said its resulted in nine times more advertisers transacting on its advanced TV platform versus 2018. The company also recently revealed that beta results from its new attribution tool for advertisers show nearly 20% lift in overall purchase behavior by consumers.

Earlier this year, eMarketer predicted that Hulu’s gross ad revenues will approach $2.7 billion by 2021. The firm expects Hulu will tally up about $1.82 billion in 2019 (up 25.3%) and $2.24 billion in 2020 (up 22.7%) before climbing another 20.5% in 2021. The firm said its 22.7% growth forecast between 2019 and 2020 is nearly double its previous target of 11.4%.

While the majority of Hulu viewers are opting for the less expensive plan with ads, the company still has a large amount of subscribers going for its $11.99-per-month ad-free option. Hulu CEO Randy Freer earlier this month said that his company is going to make a more concerted effort to advertise that package.

“I think what you’ll see now over time is you’ll start to see us probably roll out a little more promotion, a little more opportunity, to bring no ads more to the forefront,” Freer told Recode.