As part of their Q4 Earnings Call, Disney shared that Hulu has reached 28.5 million paid subscribers at the end of the Fourth Quarter. This is up from 28 million monthly paid subscribers at the end of Q3, and 26.8 million subscribers the company announced at their Hulu ‘19 Presentation in May, and 23 million in January.
In comparison, Netflix added 520K subscribers over the same three month period.
While it is one of the fastest growing streaming services, the company is hoping to accelerate it further by bundling it with ESPN+ and Disney+, when Disney’s streaming service launches in November. Subscribers will be able to access all three services for just $12.99 a month, which is the same price as Netflix.
Disney has announced aggressive plans to accelerate content for Hulu. Starting next March, all seasons of the FX library, as well as current and upcoming shows will debut on Hulu just hours after they air on linear TV.
FX will also begin producing original shows for Hulu including four new series next year. Some of those shows include Debs, A Teacher, Ms. America with Cate Blanchett, and The Old Man with Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow.
The company lowered the price of their ad-supported service in February to just $5.99, which at less than half the price of Netflix, has made it more attractive to streamers. This quarter, Hulu has also started promoting their ad-free product for the first time.
Hulu has also tried to improve the product for those on the Limited Commercials tier ($5.99), by limiting ad pods to just 90 seconds, and setting frequency levels on an hourly and daily basis.
The company, which lost over $1 billion this past year, expects that 2019 will be the apex of losses. In May, Disney announced that they had reached a deal with Comcast to take full control of the streaming service — by agreeing to buy their stake at a $27 billion valuation in 2023. Just last month, AT&T sold their 9.5% stake in Hulu back to the company at a $15 billion valuation.