Hulu Set for $500M in Revenue, 1M Hulu-Plus Subscribers

Hulu Set for $500M in Revenue, 1M Hulu-Plus Subscribers

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Hulu is doing well if you ask Jason Kilar, the CEO, who reported the Q1 stats for the online video service in a blog post on Monday. From the sounds of the post everything is unicorns and cotton candy over there in the rose-colored world of Huludise. Lots of good stats to show how healthy the company is and illustrate the jump up from the $263M they did last year which could spell I…P…O…

Kilar stated the company is, “on pace to approach half a billion dollars in revenue in 2011.” He also cited a 90% revenue growth in Q1 year-over-year. That’s some pretty stiff growth. Considering how the company has been bouncing around on the comScore Top Ten video properties lists it’s good to see they’re on the up and up in the revenue department.

They grew some 50% in regards to the number of advertisers they served. A stat I am frankly not all that impressed with. They do load up on ads already so I don’t want them to think that’s the continued way to go. No ads for Hulu Plus is going to be key to their continued success I think because they will continue to push ads on the subscribers to the point where people stop paying, and why wouldn’t they when they can possibly get a lot of that Plus content that has ads for free elsewhere.

48.1 ads per viewer, over 50% more than the average for the top ten video properties by ads viewed. They now have 289 advertisers on board who all need to get their ads shown and so Hulu can generate revenue. However, 48.1 per viewer is about enough I think since they served 224.3 minutes average per user. So averaging the averages we get an ad every 4.66 minutes.

Other key stats from Hulu Q1 2011

  • – The content community will earn approximately $300 million through Hulu over the course of 2011.
  • Number of content partners for Hulu Plus and Hulu 264 in Q1 2011, including brands from the Viacom family (MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, BET, and more).
  • – Users initiated 10 percent more streams vs Q4 2010
  • On track to exceed 1 million Hulu Plus subscribers in 2011
  • – In response to our April 1st website redesign, which paid homage to 1996, we set a new one-day record for inbound calls. Fifty-one good Samaritans immediately alerted us that we’d been hijacked/hacked/phished (we explained we intended the site to be that way). We received 26 requests to fire the team member responsible for introducing the dial-up sound that ran while videos loaded. Seven former Geocities employees sent their resumes to us.

That last set of stats is hilarious. Way to make an April Fool’s day prank really work for you.

My thoughts

Hulu is cool (aside from their America-centric service). But if they continue to be greedier and greedier eventually they’ll reach a tipping point and those 1M Hulu Plus subscribers are going to start looking elsewhere for that content with either no commercials or a lower advertisement to pricetag ratio. That’s the fine line that they need to walk and from the look of the stats, they aren’t really interested in what the users think about advertisements.

It’s almost like they think their sh!t doesn’t stink as attached to that on track for 1M Hulu Plus stat was this “(up from 0 in 2010). To our knowledge, this is the fastest start of any online video subscription service.” Kind of flies in the face of his later statement, “we’re thankful for — and humbled by — the response we’ve received.” Perhaps more humble is in order?

I wonder if they’ll also see the fastest downfall of any video subscription service when they overload viewers with adverts.

If they do manage to maintain that thin line between satisfied viewers and burned out ex-users who seek less commercial interruption, then they could very well be rolling in dough later in the year with a big public IPO.

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