Hulu boasted 26.8 million paid subscribers and another 1.3 million promotional subscribers at its 2019 NewFronts presentation held Wednesday at New York’s Madison Square Garden. That marks growth of 40% — or 8 million subscribers — since last year at this time.
“In today’s direct-to-consumer world, viewers are demanding better when it comes to TV — from the user experience to their content choices to the advertising,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer in a statement. “Hulu’s continued growth, as well as the shows and initiatives announced today, reflect our deep investment in product, programming, brand, customer experience and business strategy to ensure that with Hulu, consumers can connect with the stories they love, at the right time and price, on any device.”
To achieve that growth, Hulu has dropped its price for its ad-supported product to $6 a month and added promotions such as a free subscriptions for Spotify premium members. Subscriptions for Hulu’s premium ad-free stream cost $11.99 per month.
It’s also offered viewers popular originals including season three of the Emmy-winning The Handmaid’s Tale, starring Elisabeth Moss (trailer and key art above), and an eight-episode reboot of UPN’s popular series, Veronica Mars, starring Kristen Bell (teaser below).
The streaming service, which was launched by a consortium of media partners that included Fox, Disney, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. in 2008, is now 60% owned by Disney, which closed its deal to buy 21st Century Fox last month. AT&T, which acquired Time Warner last June, has sold the 10% of Hulu it owns to Disney, but so far Disney and remaining partner Comcast NBCUniversal haven’t decided how that 10% will be allocated. That said, Comcast NBCU is reportedly discussing selling the remaining 30% it owns to Disney as well, which would grant Disney total ownership of the service.
Hulu ordered four new series, including two live-action shows from Marvel titled Marvel’s Ghost Rider and Marvel’s Helstrom. It renewed two of its rookie comedies — Pen15 and Ramy. It placed a straight-to-series order for Nine Perfect Strangers, based on the book by Liane Moriarty, from much of the same team that produced HBO’s Big Little Lies, including Nicole Kidman and David E. Kelly.
Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon will play Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in new limited series, The Dropout. And the service is partnering with Vox Media Studios, David Chang’s Majordomo Media and Chrissy Teigen’s Suit & Thai Productions to develop and produce a slate of new food-oriented programs. One of those is tentatively titled Family Style; another, which is in development with online food brand Eater, is currently called Eater’s Guide To The World.
Hulu also has recently had success with series The Act, starring Patricia Arquette in the based-on-real-life story of a woman with Munchausen-Syndrome-by-Proxy and the child who ultimately rebels. More viewers have watched The Act in its first month on the service than any other Hulu original, according to the service.
Original series coming up are George Clooney’s adaptation of Catch-22 and Mindy Kaling’s serialization of Four Weddings and a Funeral.