Hulu reportedly nearing 20M subscribers

Hulu original "The Handmaid's Tale" won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2017. (Hulu)

Hulu appears to be growing at a rapid pace lately as reports suggest the streaming service—which is co-owned by Disney, Fox, NBC and Time Warner—is nearing 20 million subscribers.

That’s according to the Hollywood Reporter, which dropped the information in the middle of a lengthy feature story on Hulu’s somewhat uncertain future amid Disney’s proposed $52.4 million acquisition of a large chunk of 21st Century Fox.

As the story points out, that amount of subscribers would mean Hulu has grown nearly 18% in the few months since it formally announced that it passed the 17 million-subscriber mark. When Hulu announced 17 million subscribers in January, it said that new total was 5 million more (a 40% increase) than Hulu had when it previously reported subscriber totals in 2016.

Having 20 million subscribers would be more than enough to keep Hulu in third place behind Amazon and Netflix. Though Hulu is still well behind Netflix’s 125 million total subscribers and Amazon’s 100 million Prime members (the company doesn’t disclose how many of those actually use its video service), Hulu also doesn’t operate internationally like Amazon and Netflix do.

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“2017 was a momentous year for Hulu. We took several major steps to become a 21st century direct-to-consumer media company, evolving into both an aggressive SVOD business and a formidable new live TV provider,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer in a statement in January. “The year ahead is going to be even bigger, as the company invests more in content—live, library and original—as well as technology and data to make Hulu the leading pay TV choice for consumers.”

Last year, Hulu made several deals with 20th Century Fox and Disney to build up its SVOD library, launched a live streaming TV service and garnered acclaim for originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The second season of that series launched this week.