Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hulu’s Year-End Report: We’re Pretty Darn Big! (And We’re Not Saying Anything Else.)

jason kilar diveHulu has put out its 2012 numbers and, boy, are they good for a company that everyone said would never work: Almost $700 million in revenue, and “more than” three million paying customers for its Hulu Plus subscription service.

And as far as everything else: Nada.

In the past, Jason Kilar has used these state of the company reports to make big declarations about The Future Of TV, or at least the near-term future of Hulu, the joint venture between News Corp., Disney and Comcast (News Corp. also owns this Web site).

Today, there’s none of that. Just the numbers, sir.

And maybe, if you’re into tea-leaf-reading, an oblique reference from Kilar: “So much has changed” since the company’s conception in 2007, he notes.

Which might be, among other things, a reference to big changes behind the scenes with Hulu’s corporate owners, who haven’t had a consistent approach to the site in five years. And/or its employees, who have had a “liquidity event” worth roughly $200 million this fall.

Or maybe it was just some he words he typed up and put on a blog. (I know the feeling!)

Back to the numbers: Hulu will do $695 million in revenue this year. That’s up 65 percent from the $420 million it did last year, when revenue was up 60 percent. And that three-million-plus number for Hulu Plus is two times last year’s tally (Hulu competitor Netflix has around 27 million paid subscribers worldwide).

In the past, Hulu has said that it expects subscription dollars to make up more than half of its total revenue. It doesn’t spell that out here, but I believe it’s still the case.

hulu revenues 2012

So that’s all good and bow-worthy for the Hulu team. The questions about how it works with its content/partner owners, and who at Hulu will be around to work with them, we can tackle some other time.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik