To many outside observers, and in some cases that includes people regarded as tech writers, Hulu’s recent announcement that it has surpassed 1 million subscribers is a surprise. With a number of competitors including three major entries with more time on the marketplace Sling TV, DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue, it might have been logical to expect the new service to take some time to reach that pinnacle. It should be obvious why this has not been the case.
Hulu Already Had An Audience
5 years ago Sling TV was not a brand. Neither was “DirecTV Now. PlayStation was a game system and YouTube was a haven for cat videos. Hulu on the other hand was an app for people who wanted to watch the latest TV shows available. So by launching a live TV offering on top of the existing infrastructure the company is only giving customers more of what they already like. Hulu already had millions of paid subscribers. In fact it still has many more subscribers who pay for just on-demand viewing. But every single one of those subscribers will see commercials for Hulu’s live service when they access their on-demand app or visit the home page. That is a distinct advantage over almost every live TV streaming platform besides YouTube. On that note it would not be a surprise to see YouTube live TV cross the million subs threshold before the end of 2018.
Hulu With Live TV has been investing in improvements
Since the service launched it has been working to make it better. The truth is that they had to. Its first iteration was honestly a little clunky. But over time it has gotten considerably easier to use. Hulu added a grid menu for searching live offerings, Integrated programming that is available to live customers into its on-demand searches, and simplified its menus. This has led to a much better user experience.
Great Value proposition
If you are already a Hulu customer be it commercial free or with limited commercials the cost to add a full live TV service with a DVR is only about $30,00 on top of the price of the existing service. For those who have been enjoying the service overall but wish they could catch a game on ESPN or see the latest breaking news the investment may well be worth it. Customers who already have Hulu and want to add live TV would be well suited to keep everything in the same interface because it’s honestly just easier that way.
People Want Something That Feels Like Cable
Sure they say they hate it. But when people jump off the cable train and purchase say a Roku, Fire TV or Apple TV they soon feel a little confused. Where is this show, why can’t I see anything on the USA channel etc. Understanding the ins and outs of how all this stuff works is probably the biggest challenge of cord cutting. But systems that put everything together in one place make the universe feel just a little less chaotic in most households. The less there is to learn the better. No matter how many little features designers like to brag about it all comes down to where can I watch the game, the news, my show etc. Hulu is continuing to do a good job of answering these questions and as long as this remains the case it will likely continue to grow.