Majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company with 67% equity and partially-owned by a silent partner, NBC Universal (Comcast) with 33% equity, Hulu ranks among the most popular US-based video-on-demand (VoD) subscription services; that has over 39.4 million paying subscribers in the first quarter of 2021!
Predominantly oriented towards live TV and past/current series and movies, Hulu aims to change the landscape of visual entertainment and content availability, particularly in the United States. It provides access to the latest episodes a few hours after their airing; while offering live television on the same platform.
This guide aims to provide the latest marketing data, reports, and statistics regarding Hulu‘s market share, TV and SVoD, and penetration rates in the industry worldwide. We will also provide an analysis of the OTT platform and its growth amidst the COVID-19 lockdown with detailed data on viewing behavior:
Marketing Trends & Data
Hulu has experienced exponential growth in the entertainment sector over the past 16 months; boosting its paying subscribers count all the way from 28.5 million in the 4th quarter of 2019 to 39.4 million in the 1st quarter of 2021 (showing an increase of 27.6%).
A detailed report from Statista clarifies that the growth of subscribers skyrocketed during the last year specifically, where users were confined to their homes, due to COVID-19 and its resulting state-wide lockdowns and self-quarantine measures.
According to a study from NCBI, 73.7% of users agreed to a considerable increase in streaming activities, during the lockdown period with an increase in average times of 5+ hours (11.5%). 27.6% of these participants had a tendency of binge-watching “daily”!
There’s no doubt that people were streaming like fanatics last year; either to cope with the mental trauma of a worldwide pandemic or the adjustment period of working from home. This can further be verified by searching for “online streaming” on Google Trends.
The trend of “online streaming” boosted considerably during the month of March, during which state-wide lockdowns were imposed. And Hulu, similar to other SVoDs, took full advantage of the situation by boosting its marketing activities.
The Nitty-Gritty Details of Hulu’s Marketing Plan
To get insights into Hulu’s marketing plan from Q4 of 2019 to Q1 of 2021, we used Ahrefs; a tool used by Digital Marketing professionals worldwide for gathering all vital information about a website’s performance, which includes:
- Detailed links analysis
- Analysis of traffic
- In-depth view of content
- Organic keywords
- Pay-Per-Click keywords
- Competing Domains
- Top landing pages
- Ranking of pages
- Overall site audit
- Anchor text distribution
A Successful “Online Advertising” Strategy
By conducting a domain-level analysis of Hulu.com via Ahrefs, it was revealed that the VoD considerably upped its “online advertising” activities. In the image below, data from December 2019 shows ads were seen for only 77,709 keywords.
However, during the months of February and March 2020, Hulu was targeting 107,772 keywords for ads; unveiling Hulu increased its PPC marketing by 27.8% during the lockdown period, which is quite massive, to say the least!
Keywords are topics and ideas that describe what your content is typically about. In terms of “Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”, they’re phrases and words that people enter into search engines; also known as “search queries”.
More Traffic Despite Drop in Rankings
The PPC campaign worked great for Hulu, but the lockdown itself also resulted in a boost of their organic search traffic. By 4th March 2020, the OTT platform was generating 32 million organic traffic, which shows a growth of 13.2% from 31st December 2019.
It’s amazing to notice that Hulu was able to sustain this traffic in the following months, despite facing a downfall in their organic keywords, which goes to show people may have signed up with Hulu during COVID-19 boredom, but stayed for their content!
This can further be verified by searching for “Hulu” on Google Trends. The search trend of “Hulu” boosted considerably during the first quarter of 2020, which was the peak time of state-wide lockdowns and self-quarantine measures.
Traffic Distribution: Region-Hopping is Real!
Hulu is only available to streamers in the United States, but surprisingly, the SVoD service accumulates 34.7 million traffic from multiple countries. As such, Hulu doesn’t only have fans in the US, but people do appreciate their content worldwide.
An interesting question: how do streamers access Hulu outside the US? Well, in recent times, region-hopping has been quite common, thanks to the use of VPN services. By connecting to a VPN server in the US, users can bypass geo-restrictions and content blocks.
The traffic analysis below shows how the traffic is divided across multiple countries. The United States receives the most amount of traffic, touching 32.5 million, accounting for 93.5% of the site’s overall traffic, which is then further divided worldwide.
Reports and Stats for Nerds
The Live TV service of Hulu is the largest in the United States, surpassing that of FuboTV, SlingTV, and YouTube TV. However, that’s not their only USP in the marketplace of OTT platforms. Unlike other services, Hulu utilizes an ad-based model to boost its revenues.
Therefore, where Netflix earns primarily through its subscriptions, Hulu takes a step forward by introducing plans that are ad-based and free from ads. Their ad-based plans alone generated around $1.6 billion by 2019 with these numbers only increasing in 2020!
Hulu’s Average Monthly Revenue Per Paying Subscriber
Starting off from the 1st quarter of 2019, Hulu was earning an average monthly revenue per subscriber of $14.19 for their SVoD plan and $52.31 for their live TV + SVoD package. During this time, Hulu gained a lot of popularity for their movies & TV shows.
By the 4th quarter of 2019, Hulu was reportedly generating an average monthly revenue per subscriber of $12.67 for SvoD only and $58.82 for their Live TV + SVoD package, which shows that streamers appreciated the combined package more than the simple SVoD.
The numbers continue to rise as we enter the 1st quarter of 2020 amidst the COVID-19 lockdowns and by the start of 2021, Hulu’s SVoD service reported an average monthly revenue of $13.51 per paying subscriber and $75.11 for their Live TV + SVoD package.
This shows an increase of over 15 dollars in their Live TV + SVoD earnings from the previous fiscal year. That’s an approximate 20.8% rise from Q1 of 2020 to the Q1 of 2021. In short, the earnings have been massive for the OTT platform.
Comparison of Hulu’s Content with Other SVoD Platforms
The most interesting fact about Hulu’s massive popularity last year is that they didn’t actually produce that many movies and TV shows, as compared to other streaming services in the marketplace. Yet, they still managed to increase revenues, profits, and subscribers!
For the US market, Amazon Prime Video released the largest catalog of movies & TV shows, crossing the mark of 14,000+ movies and 2,000 television shows. Meanwhile, Netflix maintained its standard pace and released 3,500+ movies and 2,000+ TV shows.
Hulu, on the other hand, only released 900 movies and 1,700 TV shows, which are still great numbers. The only difference between Hulu and other streaming services is that Hulu focuses on releasing “quality” more than “quantity”.
On IMDb, you’ll notice that almost every title scores an average rating between 7 and 8. Of course, there are some that fall in the “6” rating, but their average is quite good.
Similarly, critics from Rotten Tomatoes rate their content relatively higher than others with most titles averaging between 80% and 90% in Audience Scores and the “Tomatometer”.
Most Popular VoDs from November 2019 to March 2020
We’ve discussed the coronavirus-related stay-at-home excessive binge-watching trends above. With the below statistics, it becomes more evident how many people were streaming. During the month of March 2020, Netflix was generating almost “1.5 billion” global visits.
The SVoD service experienced a 29% growth in visits from the previous month. Apple didn’t fall back either and received global visits of over 628.13 Million during March 2020. Meanwhile, Hulu received a massive increase of 17.2% in global visits.
Best Video Platforms for Watching Children’s Content
Undoubtedly, Hulu is quite popular among adults for its quality movies & TV shows that receive good acclamations from critics. However, the SVoD also manages to grab the attention of young audiences, following Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video.
According to Statista, 33% of adults believe that Hulu has good content for children, among which some popular names include “Abominable”, “The Secret Garden”, “Wonder Park”, “Instant Family”, and “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”.
Golden Globe Nominations Per Television Network in 2021
From the movies & TV shows released in 2020, the SVoD managed to earn 6 nominations according to Statista. Meanwhile, another source reveals that Hulu secured 10 Golden Globe Nominations. Regardless, it’s interesting to see the SVoD giving a tough time to its competitors.
It’s just a few nominations behind HBO Max and Netflix and at this pace, we can certainly assume that 2021 might be the year for Hulu. They might even exceed nominations in the Oscars, and surely that will be an interesting shift in the entertainment industry!
It’s clear that Hulu has experienced exponential growth in the past 16 months with its aggressive “Online Advertising” strategies, “quality” TV shows & movies, and added binge-watching benefits as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns and self-quarantine measures.
As such, it is safe to assume that its popularity will only continue to grow, and perhaps even exceed that of Netflix, HBO, Disney+, and other competing SVoDs. Not to mention, with more and more people preferring to “work from home”, streaming will only skyrocket!
The research post was written by Sophie Blake from huluincanada.com