Hulu Has 2 Million Fewer Paid Subscribers Than Originally Thought

In January, Hulu announced that they had 25 million subscribers between their SVOD and vMVPD services. Many assumed that number only included those with paid subscribers. Yesterday, during Disney Investor Day, it was revealed only 23 million of those were paid subscribers — so some 2 million were on accounts with free trials.

In comparison, Amazon announced that they had 100 million Prime subscribers, but according to a report by Reuters last March about 26 million U.S. customers stream videos on Prime Video. In January, Netflix announced that they had reached nearly 140 million paid subscribers including 58.5 million U.S. streamers.

Hulu saw huge growth over the holidays from their $0.99 a month promotion, which gave new subscribers a year of the service at a heavily discounted price. The company’s Live TV product has taken advantage of a pull back in promotion from DIRECTV NOW. Hulu CEO shared that it grew 10x of DIRECTV Now in the 3rd Quarter.

During the presentation, Hulu CEO Randy Freer shared that despite them raising the price of Hulu Live TV from $40 to $45 in February — most of those users switched to their SVOD plan ($6) than cancelling the service. He also indicated that in March, Hulu had their lowest churn to date.

The company has over 85,000 episodes of television, more than any other SVOD service. They also have been using their original shows like The Handmaid’s Tale to drive new subscribers. One of their latest additions, The Act, drove more new subscribers than any other original launch in the company’s history.

The service expects peak operating losses in FY2019 — losing ~$1.5 billion. Disney hopes closing those losses to reach profitability by late 2023 or 2024.