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Hulu Plus Hits 2 Million Subs

17 Apr, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Hulu is increasing monies spent acquiring and/or developing original content by 67% or $500 million this year, CEO Jason Kilar said at an advertising conference.

Speaking April 17 at Ad Age Digital confab in New York, Kilar said Hulu’s subscription video-on-demand service, Hulu Plus, added 500,000 subscribers since the beginning of the year to reach 2 million overall.

The CEO said the sub growth to 2 million in one quarter was the fastest for any SVOD service in U.S. history. By comparison, Netflix has more than 23 million subs, including 21 million domestically.

Kilar said the Hulu Plus subscriber base paying $7.99 a month (in addition to select advertising) has afforded Hulu the opportunity to bid for content that previously was the domain of broadcast and pay-TV channels.

In February, Hulu bowed “Battleground,” a political campaign sitcom originally developed for Fox. Reality show “A Day in the Life” features documentarian Morgan Spurlock shadowing celebrities for a 24-hour period. This summer Hulu bows travel series “Up to Speed,” from Richard Linklater, director of Dazed and Confused and Slacker.

Hulu, which is co-owned by News Corp., The Walt Disney Co. and NBC Universal, also implemented a campaign whereby advertisers are charged only when their spots are watched in their entirety. Kilar said that to date, 96% of ads are watched to completion.

The ploy, which is a departure from the industry standard of charging for video ads viewed or not, is seen as a way to lure advertisers unsure about supporting online video in general and SVOD in particular.

“It was a big opportunity to push the ad business forward,” Kilar told attendees.

Netflix and Amazon Prime do not run ads with their SVOD streaming content.

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