Hulu in 2013: Sales up nearly half to $1B with 5M paid users

The new CEO of the streaming site recounts the year's highlights in a blog post but doesn't say much of substance about where Hulu is going.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
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Mike Hopkins, the new chief executive of Hulu, said the next-day TV streaming site saw its revenue rise at least 44 percent to $1 billion in 2013, as its paid subscribers jumped by two-thirds.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Hopkins recounted the highlights of the year but gave few hints about his idea of how Hulu should move forward. He wrote:

As we scale the business in 2014, we will continue to invest in content, technology and people. 2014 will bring even more opportunity as we find new ways to grow the business from the strong foundation we have built.

He was more straightforward with some key numbers, saying Hulu will reach $1 billion in revenue, up 44 percent from $695 million last year, and that paid premium service Hulu Plus has more than 5 million subscribers, up about two-thirds from a little more than 3 million last year.

He also noted roughly 50 percent of those subscribers stream exclusively on devices, while living-room viewing accounted for more than half of all viewing.

Hopkins was appointed Hulu's CEO in October, after he was the president of distribution for Fox Networks Group since 2008 and a Hulu director since 2011. He replaced Andy Forssell, a longtime Hulu executive who left the company after serving as acting CEO since March.

The year has been one of stabilization for Hulu. The hiring of Hopkins dispelled leadership uncertainty that clouded the business for months following a stream of top executive departures, including Jason Kilar, Hulu's previous permanent chief. A $750 million infusion from Hulu's owners instead of a sale of the company cleared out uncertainty about where Hulu would end up.

Hulu is jointly owned by 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal -- part of Comcast -- and Disney.

The owners ultimately decided to inject ad-supported Hulu and subscription service Hulu Plus with $750 million, after they aborted the effort to sell the site -- again. The parent companies had attempted a sale in 2011 as well, only to keep Hulu in the fold.