That’s an increase of a little over 40 percent from the 12 million subscribers that Hulu announced back in March 2016.
The company says that its total audience grew to 54 million unique viewers last year, and that annual ad revenue reached $1 billion for the first time in the streaming service’s history.
The press release also highlights the recent awards success of The Handmaid’s Tale, which won Best Drama at the Emmys and Golden Globes. Is the critical acclaim for The Handmaid’s Tale driving Hulu’s audience growth? Well, the company says that in terms of hours watched, its top three dramas last year were Law and Order: SVU, This is Us and, yes, The Handmaid’s Tale. (It kinda seems like Law and Order has an unfair advantage here since there are so many episodes.)
Meanwhile, the top comedies were South Park, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers.
“2017 was a momentous year for Hulu. We took several major steps to become a 21st century direct-to-consumer media company, evolving into both an aggressive SVOD business and a formidable new live TV provider,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer in the release. (Freer took on the CEO role in October.) “The year ahead is going to be even bigger, as the company invests more in content – live, library and original – as well as technology and data to make Hulu the leading pay TV choice for consumers.”
As part of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Hulu is also previewing a new Live TV guide. And there could be other changes in its future, as Disney’s still-to-be-approved acquisition of Fox’s movie and TV studios would make it Hulu’s controlling shareholder.