Hulu, in a little over a year since launching its $40 monthly internet-streaming “skinny bundle,” has signed up 800,000 customers for the service, according to CEO Randy Freer.
It’s the first time Hulu has revealed a figure for the internet pay-TV service, which is called Hulu With Live TV. Freer disclosed the number in an interview Thursday with CNBC.
On average, subscribers of Hulu With Live TV are watching more than 100 hours of television per month, according to Freer. Hulu’s average of 108 hours per subscriber monthly — which includes on-demand viewing — is less than the 116 hours per month the average American watched live TV, VOD and DVR programming as of April 2018, according to Nielsen estimates.
Among Hulu’s rivals in the competitive “virtual pay-TV” space in the U.S., AT&T’s DirecTV Now tallied 1.46 million subscribers while Dish Network’s Sling TV stood at 2.3 million as of the end of Q1 2018. Others in the fray include Google’s YouTube TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and FuboTV.
Earlier this month, Hulu announced that it had surpassed 20 million total paying customers, which includes subscribers for the live TV product. 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, speaking Tuesday at the Code Conference, said that about half of Hulu’s SVOD customers pay for the ad-free $11.99 monthly package, with the rest on the $7.99-per-month plan with ads.
Hulu is owned by 21st Century Fox, Disney, NBCUniversal and Time Warner. Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu would transfer to Disney under its $52.4 billion bid for 21CF entertainment assets — giving Disney majority control of Hulu — unless Comcast makes good on its announcement to outbid Disney.
As of late April 2018, Hulu With Live TV offers 51 national cable channels and nearly 600 local TV affiliates. According to the company, 51% of TV households in the U.S. have access to ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC local stations on Hulu With Live TV.
Hulu With Live TV’s lineup includes channels from its media-conglomerate owners, as well as A+E Networks and CBS. The service does not carry networks from AMC Networks, Viacom, or Starz; it also excludes legacy Discovery channels but does include channels from Scripps Networks Interactive (which is now part of Discovery) like Food Network and HGTV.