Hulu Reports 2011 Revenue of $420 Million, Hulu Plus Reaches 1.5 Million Subs

Jason Kilar
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

How long can the Hulu CEO keep his job after he caught owners News Corp., NBCUniversal and Disney off-guard with a blistering blog post arguing that network TV runs too many ads and that profits for the TV sector will soon decline?

The online video joint venture is “very bullish on where things go from here,” CEO Jason Kilar says in a blog post.

NEW YORK – Online video joint venture Hulu said Thursday that it grew its revenue 40 percent in 2011 to approximately $420 million, and Hulu Plus now has more than 1.5 million paying subscribers.

“As you might expect based on the 2011 results…and our recent launch of Hulu in Japan, we as a team are very bullish on where things go from here,” CEO Jason Kilar said in a blog post. “We have conviction that digital ultimately becomes the primary way that consumers across the globe choose to access content.”

In 2011, Hulu's content offering grew approximately 40 percent over 2010, and the firm expects to invest approximately half a billion dollars in content in 2012, according to the blog post.

The dual revenue stream Hulu Plus business model allows his firm “to compensate content owners much more than anyone else in the online subscription market on a per subscriber basis,” Kilar highlighted. “At scale, our model allows us to profitably pay content owners approximately 50 percent more in content licensing fees per subscriber when compared to other similarly priced online subscription services.”

He also said that Hulu Plus “materially exceeded our plan” last year by whizzing past the original 1 million year-end subscriber target. And it “continues to grow extremely fast.” It reached the 1.5 million paid subscriber mark faster than any video subscription service launch online or offline in U.S. history,” he said. Added Kilar: “We are attracting more than twice the number of subscribers each day when compared to this time last year…we expect our subscription services to account for more than half of Hulu’s overall business later this year.”

Discussing the advertising side of Hulu’s business, Kilar said it has now served over 1,000 brand advertisers, but he didn’t break out ad revenue. “We are relentless in our mission to be the most effective video advertising service on the planet, which we believe is a function of respecting users and empowering them with tools like Hulu Ad Swap and Hulu Ad Selector,” he said.

Hulu is a venture of News Corp., Walt Disney, NBCUniversal and Providence Equity Partners. The owners mulled a sale of Hulu last year, but decided late in 2011 to not sell.


Twitter: @georgszalai