In the shifting TV landscape, Hulu has been a massive success story. Whether or not you consider its content library up to par, Hulu is making money in over-the-top video in a way that few others are. Today at NewTeeVee Live, CEO Jason Kilar announced that Hulu revenue will hit $240 million in 2010, up from $108 million last year, and 25 million in 2008. Keep in mind, this is with Hulu Plus barely off the ground, so advertising is bringing in a lot of that cash. That contrasts with Netflix, the other success story in OTT video, which has built its (considerable) fortunes on the subscription model. Hulu is moving in that direction, but has managed to make a go of its service even in its ad-supported incarnation.
Hulu of course is backed by major content companies, so if any organization were to succeed in the space, it’s not surprising that Hulu would be a frontrunner. However, Hulu has another thing going for it. Like Netflix, the company is not trying to change consumer behavior in one fell swoop. Hulu isn’t meant to replace cable. (Despite some arguments to the contrary.) It’s meant to be an add-on. And that means it can play along with pay-TV providers rather than fight against them.
Know who has been trying to fight directly against pay-TV providers? Sezmi, which is still a blip on the TV radar. And Zillion TV, which has now closed up shop and is reportedly shopping its assets to the highest bidder.