Hulu on pace to have 23M subscribers by year-end

Hulu is continuing the slow and steady pace for updates to the device compatibility list for its new UI and live TV service, this time adding 2017 Samsung smart TVs to the list.
Hulu with Live TV may have added as many as 500,000 subscribers during the third quarter. (Hulu)

Hulu CEO Randy Freer says his company is growing at a fast pace and is on track to have more than 23 million subscribers by the end of 2018.

That’s according to TechCrunch, which picked up on Freer’s remarks at a Business Insider conference and did some math. Freer said that Hulu expects to add more subscribers in the second half of 2018 than it did in the first. Considering Hulu said it had 17 million subscribers in January and said it reached 20 million over the summer, that means Hulu will have at least 23 million subscribers by the end of the year.

Freer also provided an update on Hulu’s Live TV service and said that it added 10 times as many subscribers as DirecTV Now during the third quarter. Since DirecTV Now added 49,000 subscribers, that suggests that Hulu added nearly 500,000 live TV subscribers.

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“We think the live TV market is robust,” Freer said, according to TechCrunch. “DirecTV Now announced their number in the third quarter and we grew 10 times of where DirecTV Now was. We were growing in October and November. We had our best third quarter, our best October, our best November.”

In September, reports said that Hulu had reached 1 million live TV subscribers.

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Hulu’s healthy rate of growth comes as the streaming service is facing a somewhat uncertain future. Disney is in the process of acquiring 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion, and that deal will make Disney a 60% majority owner of Hulu. Comcast still owns 30% of Hulu, and AT&T (via its Time Warner acquisition) owns 10%, but the company recently indicated it would be willing to sell its stake in Hulu to help drive down its debt.

During its most recent earnings call, Disney discussed potential plans for Hulu. Disney CEO Bob Iger said that he sees opportunity to ramp up investment in Hulu and potentially raise prices for the service.

He said that the expanded studio power Disney will have after buying Fox will be used in part to create more original content for Hulu. He also said that Hulu’s generally younger viewer demographics make it an attractive platform for advertisers.