CEO projects passing 1 million by end of summer

Hulu is touting an uptick to its subscriber numbers amid preliminary discussions to sell the website to the highest bidder.

The company issued a second-quarter report on its blog Wednesday that emphasized gains to Hulu Plus, the subscription service that gives viewers a deeper content selection for $7.99 per month. The 875,000 subs Hulu Plus collected in June represents its biggest month-over-month increase since launching last November.

The sub surge prompted Hulu CEO Jason Kilar to move up his projection of hitting the 1 million mark by the end of the year to the end of the summer.

“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,” he wrote on the blog.

The 2Q post put heavy emphasis on Hulu Plus as opposed to the core Hulu service, which is free and driven by ad revenues. That may reflect a shift in what Hulu sees as its value proposition to prospective buyers, which reportedly include Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Hulu is expected to fetch as much as $2 billion.

Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co., which owns Hulu along with NBCUniversal, News Corp., and Providence Equity Partners, was quoted Wednesday by Bloomberg News as being “committed to selling” the service and that “there’s a lot of interest” from potential bidders.

Kilar also touted some dramatic gains Hulu Plus has made to its catalog since launching nearly eight months ago, with total hours up 67% to 15,000. There are 2,180 TV series on Hulu Plus, up 129%, and 25,000 movies, up 222%.

The sub surge is likely driven by the sharp increase in digital platforms that have made Hulu available in the past 90 days including XBox, Samsung, Tivo and Androids. They amount to 25 million connected devices, bringing Hulu’s total footprint to 100 million devices.

When subs that signed up for Hulu Plus during its inaugural free trial are added up to paying subs, the company has already crossed the 1 million mark.

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