Tuesday the online video web site Hulu, stated that it had doubled its number of paying subscribers in the last year to four million. The announcement comes in the midst of some uneasiness at Hulu, as two of its owners, Walt Disney Company and News Corporation, have been hinting that they may sell. Also last month the founding chief executive of Hulu stepped down. It appears that Hulu has been struggling as of late.
Hulu held an event Tuesday for advertisers to promote several original series that will premiere on Hulu this year. Two of the shows that will be distributed exclusively are “Quick Draw”, a comedic western, and “The Awesomes”, an animated series about superheroes. These series are part of the third wave in regards to Hulu’s original content and appear to be the most ambitious.
Despite this push towards original content, Hulu’s most popular shows remain those that it licenses from their owners and other media companies. The online television marketplace has become increasingly more competitive and content costs have risen as a response. With the rise in competition companies are looking for ways to stand out. One way to do this by commissioning shows. Hulu has done this by becoming one of two places to watch “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” This may indicate a race starting amongst these online companies to gain the rights to certain television shows.
In addition to announcing that its paid service has topped four million subscribers for the first time, Hulu has stated it had reached a new revenue record in the first quarter. According to the company, in 2012 it earned $695 million in revenue, up from approximately $420 million in 2011. Despite this, I think that Hulu could be in trouble going forward. Online television providers in my opinion will never be able to compete with companies such as HBO in terms of original content. And when competing with Netflix, I believe that Hulu is overmatched, as Netflix has customer loyalty and is releasing original content of its own. I would not be confident if I was Hulu.