Hulu Plus Notches 875,000 Subscribers

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Hulu, which has put itself on the block, had about 875,000 paying subscribers at the end of June for its $7.99-per-month service -- beating the Internet video site's expectations, according to CEO Jason Kilar.

After adding more subs in June than in April and May combined, Hulu expects to top more than 1 million paying subscribers before the end of the summer, Kilar wrote in a blog Wednesday. The service now offers 15,000 hours of content across devices with an installed base of more than 100 million, he said.

"We have always believed that our path towards creating a special company lay in our ability to delight our customers," Kilar wrote.

Hulu Plus on iPhone

Including users that have a one-week-free trial, Hulu Plus already tops the 1 million mark. The site, backed by NBC Universal, News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Providence Equity Partners, previously expected to break the 1 million milestone later in 2011. Hulu officially launched the subscription service in November 2010.

In recent weeks, Hulu has been widely reported to be in discussions about selling itself with various parties, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Also looking at Hulu are AT&T, Verizon and Amazon.com, AllThingsD reported Tuesday.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said Hulu's owners are "committed to selling," speaking Wednesday at the media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Bloomberg News reported.

Kilar reiterated that Hulu is on pace to hit $500 million in total revenue this year; he had previously said Hulu Plus is expected to have a $200 million annual run rate by the fall.

The Hulu CEO also discussed the economics of content -- but avoided criticizing the traditional TV business, except to mention that Nielsen IAG measures Hulu's video advertising as being nearly twice as effective as that of linear video advertising services.

Kilar's blog post in February 2011 pointedly described TV as having too many ads and failing to deliver on consumer expectations, reportedly irritating Hulu's media company owners.

"The key to delighting content owners rests in the economics, and Hulu Plus is already revealing our ability to compensate content owners at the high end of the market for a given body of content," Kilar wrote in the blog Wednesday. "As Hulu Plus increases in scale and scope, we believe significantly more dollars in aggregate will move to the content community than has historically been the case in the industry."

The number of TV series on Hulu Plus has more than doubled, from 950 last November to 2,180 as of June, which includes 76 series from Viacom networks like MTV, Comedy Central, and VH1,
Kilar said. Kilar also noted that Hulu serves nearly twice the number
of video ads of the next largest advertising service, according to
comScore.

Overall, the Hulu Plus content library increased from 9,000 hours last November to 15,000, while the total number of full episodes on the service has more than doubled from 13,000 to 28,000.

Hulu Plus also is aiming to become "available on every Internet-connected device," Kilar said.

In the second quarter, the service became available on Xbox 360, select Android smartphones, Tivo Premiere DVRs and select Samsung Blu-ray Disc players.

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