Hulu provided an updated subscriber tally of a bit more than 28 million, including more than 1 million promotional accounts, while also noting that comScore’s extrapolations yield a total base of 58 million ad-supported viewers.
Executives laid out the details during the company’s pitch to media buyers at the NewFronts, which Hulu has always described as its “upfront.” At CES in January, Hulu reported passing the 25 million subscriber mark, but has opted to include the number of promotional subscriptions it offers.
Citing ComScore data, ad sales chief Peter Naylor said the 58 million figure shows the reach of Hulu because of the way multiple viewers accessing the same account get counted. The median age of viewers is 31, he added, and 21 million of the total base across the subscription and live TV services are classified as “cord-cutters” or “cord-nevers.”
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Naylor said the ad experience has been a major focus over the past year. The company announced a “binge ad” initiative designed to deliver relevant spots to those binge-viewing.
Hulu viewers, Naylor added, “choose everything and they are in control.” Even those who take the more basic, ad-supported tier of the SVOD, resist ads that are repeated, a persistent problem across the streaming landscape. Hulu has capped each ad pod at 90 seconds, Naylor said, which “provides a consistent experience for the viewer.” The same ad will not be served to an individual viewer more than twice an hour or four times per day.
“This means your ads remain fresh and relevant to our viewers,” Naylor told advertisers.
Hulu CEO Randy Freer said 2018 was the first year that more U.S. households subscribed to a streaming service than subscribed to a pay-TV bundle.
“The consumer has always been at the center of everything we do,” Freer said, noting a 20% uptick in time spent on Hulu. He called the platform a “fully addressable, brand-safe environment.”
The exec has been on the stump plenty lately, delivering a presentation to Wall Street analysts last month during Disney’s Investor Day, outlining plans for Hulu now that Disney is its majority owner. (Given the ad and programming focus, not surprisingly there was no mention of the larger corporate picture during the event.)
Jaya Kolhatkar, who recently joined Hulu from Walmart as Chief Data Officer, said data “truly is the connective tissue of our organization.” She added that the company has “an enormous well of first-party data.”
About 80% of Hulu consumption is in the living room, she added, with the average viewer watching on three devices.
On Hulu with Live TV, half of all consumption is on-demand content.
“The lines between live and on-demand are gone,” she said.
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