Hulu nears 12M subs as it sees 33% growth in past 12 months

Hulu today said it has close to 12 million subscribers in the U.S. – still a long way behind Netflix’s 47.7 million domestic subscribers and Amazon Prime Instant Video’s estimated 21.6 million users – but it’s a significant bump from last year’s 9 million subs.

At its Upfront presentation in New York today Hulu also announced some new content, including its debut of Hulu Documentary Films, the acquisition of The Beatles: Eight Days A Week from Director Ron Howard and season renewals of original programming including The Path and The Mindy Project, among others.

Hulu also said it had signed a deal to become “the first streaming service to deliver interactive advertising units built exclusively for the living room,” partnering with BrightLine of the technology that is expected to launch in Q3.

Hulu also added to its measurement tools, signing deals with Nielsen that will allow it to measure viewing on all of Hulu’s living room devices – think Roku, Xbox and PlayStations — in the living room with Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings. Unfortunately, that won’t include tablet and smart phone viewing, which increasingly are being used to consume video by brands’ favorite demographic, Millennials.

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins attributed Hulu’s growth to “an extraordinary array of original series, hit broadcast and cable shows and blockbuster movies” that it’s added it its content portfolio.

“In 2016, we’re going even bigger and bolder,” he said. “We’ll expand our offering with more premium content and brand new ad measurement products that will continue to make Hulu the leader in choice for seamless entertainment and advertising experiences.”

Of course, Hulu may be going ever further, if, as rumors have it, the streamer’s owners – Fox, Disney and Comcast — decide to begin offering a live Internet TV service early in 2017. The Wall Street Journal this week said that Hulu was planning a $40/mo. offering that would include ABC, ESPN and the Disney Channel, as well as the Fox broadcast network, Fox News, FX and Fox’s national and regional sports channels.

Amazon, meanwhile, has begun offering a stand-alone streaming service for the first time, offering the Prime service for $8.99/mo., in lieu of the $99 annual Prime membership fee. Netflix’s standard membership costs $9.99/mo.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn