Hulu, the popular streaming service, announced today that its platform now boasts over 20 million U.S. subscribers and that the company plans to offer users the ability download Hulu content to watch offline in the near future.
The announcement was made at the Digital Content NewFronts in New York, where Hulu executives were joined by a number of celebrities, including Elisabeth Moss, Sarah Silverman and Mindy Kaling, to share with advertisers the planned media for the upcoming year.
At the event, Hulu unveiled that it plans to become the first company to offer a downloadable content experience with opportunities for advertisers. With the new feature, subscribers will be able to access all of Hulu’s content on the go, without the need for an internet connection, while advertisers are still able to reach a targeted audience through offline ads.
In an accompanying blog post written for advertisers, Hulu emphasizes its current user engagement.
Hulu viewers are watching more TV than ever. Today, total engagement is up 60 percent. And in just three quarters we’ve added more U.S. subscribers than any other pay TV brand – and grown ad-subscriptions by 40% year-over-year. At a time when most media companies are grasping for growth, Hulu is experiencing serious momentum.
Hulu faces steep competition, as its subscription numbers still lag significantly behind rival Netflix (NFLX), which has 55 million U.S. subscribers and 125 million total worldwide. However, CEO Randy Feer believes the company is well-positioned for growth, sharing his bullish sentiment in light of the competition.
“We are the only place that delivers award-winning content, ad loads less than half that of traditional television, with ads that are always viewable and always in a brand-safe environment — and we are leading the TV and advertising industries into the future.”
While surpassing Netflix, which is now valued at over $135 billion, might seem like a daunting task from a business development perspective, TV-star Mindy Kaling was far less worried:
“Hulu doesn’t just drown you with 12 episodes of a show all at once, and then an Adam Sandler movie every other week, also isn’t an add-on to the website where you buy tampons and garden hoses.”
Of course, Kaling is referring to Netflix and Hulu’s other main competitor, Amazon (AMZN), which recently purchased rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise for a reported $250 million. Regardless, it’s clear that Hulu must keep innovating to keep up with the rapidly growing streaming market.