Hulu Subscriber Base Passes 17 Million

The Handmaid's Tale S01E05 Still - Publicity - H 2017
George Kraychyk/Hulu

The streaming platform added live television in 2017, with a library now more than double that of Netflix or Amazon.

Hulu is already having a banner year. Fresh off of two Golden Globe wins for breakout original The Handmaid's Tale, the streamer reported Tuesday that its subscriber base surpassed 17 million in 2017.

That's an increase of 5 million (and 42 percent) from the last reported tally for 2016. The year since has seen the platform — a joint venture between 21th Century Fox (for now), The Walt Disney Company, Comcast and Time Warner — add a live television component and a flagship series in Handmaid's Tale.

“2017 was a momentous year for Hulu," Hulu CEO Randy Freer said in a statement. "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. 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.”

Hulu's total audience now stands at 54 million total unique viewers. Its library has expanded to 1,700 TV titles and more than 75,000 episodes. (That's double the size of Netflix and Amazon's libraries.) In addition to originals, which account for a small portion of that total, the streamer has been aggressive in scooping up other titles, including recent breakout This Is Us and the libraries for 30 Rock and Will & Grace.

Its top performers for the year, in terms of hours watched, were Law & Order: SVU, This Is Us and The Handmaid’s Tale on the drama side and South Park, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers on the comedy side. (Interestingly, Hulu commented on its expensive Seinfeld library as well, noting that it cracked the Top 10 comedies for the first time ever among users. More than 65 million hours of the show were consumed.)

Hulu's advertising revenue hit a milestone of its own in 2017, reaching $1 billion for the first time. The median age of Hulu viewers is a sprightly 31 years, while the median annual household income is $92,000.

All the news is great for Hulu, but it is still a drop in the bucket compared with the market leader, as Netflix's global reach is now near 110 million subscribers.