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This article is about the website. For the fruit, see Calabash. For the similarly named dance, see Hula.
The logo of Hulu.
Hulu screenshot.png
July 26, 2009
Type Joint venture
Founded 2007
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States
Area served United States, Japan, Brazil
Key people Mike Hopkins (CEO)
Revenue Increase $695.43 million (2012)[1]
Owner NBCUniversal Television Group (32%)
Fox Broadcasting Company (36%)
(21st Century Fox)

Disney–ABC Television Group (32%)
(The Walt Disney Company)
Slogan(s) Anywhere, Anytime
Alexa rank negative increase 401 (August 2014)[3]
Type of site Video on demand
Advertising Proprietary
Registration Not required for public content, but affords additional personalization features.
Registration and subscription required for Hulu Plus content.
Users apx.6 million Hulu Plus subscribers (2014)[4] Unknown number of free content viewers.
Available in English, Japanese, Portuguese
Launched October 29, 2007 (Hulu Syndication Network)[5]
March 12, 2008 ( destination site)[5]
Current status Active

Hulu is a website and over-the-top (OTT) subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from ABC, Fox, NBC, TBS, WWE, and many other networks and studios. Hulu videos are currently offered only to users in the United States, its overseas territories and Japan. Hulu Japan has a .jp website and log in and payment access is separate from U.S. access. Each region is blocked by IP address location for users outside the region. Hulu provides video in Flash Video format, including many films and shows that are available in 288p, 360p, 480p, and in some cases, 720p or 1080p HD (high-definition video). Hulu also provides web syndication services for other websites including AOL, Facebook, MSN, Myspace, Yahoo!, and Comcast's XfinityTV.

Hulu is a joint venture of NBCUniversal Television Group (Comcast),[6] Fox Broadcasting Company (21st Century Fox) and Disney–ABC Television Group (The Walt Disney Company),[7] with funding by Providence Equity Partners, the owner of Newport Television, which made a US$100 million equity investment and received a 10% stake.[8] In October 2012, Providence sold its 10% stake in Hulu.[9]


The name Hulu comes from two Mandarin Chinese words, húlú (葫芦/葫蘆), "calabash; bottle gourd", and hùlù (互录/互錄), "interactive recording". The company blog explains:

In Mandarin, Hulu has two interesting meanings, each highly relevant to our mission. The primary meaning interested us because it is used in an ancient Chinese proverb that describes the Hulu as the holder of precious things. It literally translates to "gourd," and in ancient times, the Hulu was hollowed out and used to hold precious things. The secondary meaning is "interactive recording." We saw both definitions as appropriate bookends and highly relevant to the mission of Hulu.[10]


The Hulu venture was announced in March 2007 with AOL, MSN, Facebook, Comcast, Myspace and Yahoo! planned as "initial distribution partners". Jason Kilar was named the CEO in June 2007.[11][12] The name Hulu was chosen in late August 2007, when the website went live, with an announcement only and no content. It invited users to leave their email addresses for the upcoming beta test.[13] In October, Hulu began the private beta testing by invitation, and later allowed users to invite friends.[14] Hulu launched for public access in the United States on March 12, 2008.[5] The first product to launch was the HULU Syndication network, which was designed and developed by the NBCUniversal team from New York, on October 29, 2007, followed by the destinations site.

Hulu began an advertising campaign during NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII with an initial ad starring Alec Baldwin titled "Alec in Huluwood".[15] The ad intended to humorously reveal "the shocking secret behind Hulu", portraying the site as being an "evil plot to destroy the world" by suggesting that Baldwin is really an alien in disguise.[16] Advertisements have since aired featuring Eliza Dushku, Seth MacFarlane, Denis Leary, and Will Arnett.

Early in 2010, Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar said the service has made a profit in two quarters and that the company could top $100 million in revenue by summer 2010, more than its income for all of 2009. ComScore says monthly video streams reached 903 million in January 2010, over three times the figure for a year earlier,[17] and second only to YouTube.[18]

Hulu has been identified as a possible candidate for an IPO by 2013.[19][needs update] On August 16, 2010, a report revealed that Hulu is planning an Initial Public Offering (IPO) which could value the company at more than $2 billion.[20][21]

On June 21, 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported that an "unsolicited offer" caused Hulu to begin "weighing whether to sell itself."[22] On October 13, 2011 however, Hulu and its owners announced that they will not sell the company, as none of the bidders offered an amount that was satisfactory to its owners.[23]

It was reported that in 2011 Hulu made $420 million. The figure was $80 million short of the predicted revenue.[24]

The vacant CEO post was officially filled by former Fox Networks President Mike Hopkins on October 17, 2013.[25]

Content partners[edit]

Following the start of its service, Hulu signed deals with several new content providers making additional material available to consumers.

On April 30, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced that it would join the venture, purchasing a 27% stake in Hulu.[7]

Starting August 15, 2011, viewers of content from Fox and related networks are required to authenticate paid cable or satellite service wherever Fox streams episodes, including on Hulu, to be able to watch them the morning after the first airing. Non-subscribers will see those episodes delayed a week before they are viewable.[26]

On October 28, 2011, Hulu announced that they had inked a five-year deal with The CW, giving the streaming site access to next-day content from five of the six major networks.[27]

Beginning October 2012, WWE programs SmackDown, NXT, Main Event and Superstars are available in full on Hulu Plus[28] while a shortened broadcast of Raw can be viewed.

On September 18, 2013, Hulu announced a multi-year deal with the BBC that will deliver 2,000 episodes from 144 different titles in the first 12 months.[29]

Hulu Plus[edit]

At an industry conference held on October 21, 2009, News Corporation Deputy Chairman Chase Carey stated that Hulu "needs to evolve to have a meaningful subscription model as part of its business" and that it would likely start charging for at least some content by 2010.[30] Carey's comment jibes with other News Corp. heads, including Rupert Murdoch who has expressed a desire to charge for content with a number of online units.[31]

Hulu Plus, a monthly subscription service, was launched in beta (preview) on June 29, 2010 and officially launched on November 17, 2010. Like the free version of Hulu, the video available on Hulu Plus also contains commercials. However, it offers subscribers an expanded content library in the form of full seasons and more episodes of shows already available through Hulu. Hulu Plus supports a wider array of platforms than the free portions Hulu. A little more than a year after the launch of Hulu Plus, the number of paying subscribers reached 1.5 million.[32]


  • Apple TV
  • Blu-ray players (network-enabled)
  • Desktop: Hulu has released a beta version of Hulu Desktop,[when?] a standalone program for watching Hulu programming without a web browser; Hulu Desktop cannot currently play all content that the website can. The program uses a 10-foot user interface and is designed to be compatible with existing computer remote controls. It requires a Flash player and runs on Linux, OS X and Microsoft Windows.[when?][citation needed]
  • Game consoles: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita (PlayStation TV), Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One
  • Google Chromecast using a smartphone or tablet app with a Hulu Plus subscription
  • iTunes: In late June 2010, Hulu announced that a version of the service would be available to the iTunes App Store for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch running iOS version 4 or higher. Viewing the content on Hulu, however, requires a subscription.[33]
  • Orb TV box: In November 2010, Orb Networks announced the Orb TV box, which streams Hulu on the TV for free when used in conjunction with a computer and a smartphone.[34]
  • Roku Streaming Player
  • RSS: In April 2008, Hulu added support for viewing videos directly from an RSS feed.[35] In 2009, at the request of content providers, Hulu blocked Boxee software from accessing videos on the site. Boxee briefly used RSS feeds as a work-around before Hulu established more complete block.[36] Hulu has since quietly dropped official support for RSs feeds.[citation needed]
  • Smartphones: Hulu Plus, the monthly subscription package, unlocks the Android application that allows streaming all Hulu content from wi-fi and wireless data networks via a dedicated app users may download freely. Hulu Plus is also available on the iOS and Windows Phone platforms.
  • Tablets: Hulu Plus, the monthly subscription package, unlocks the Android application that allows streaming of some, but not all, Hulu content from wi-fi and wireless data networks via a dedicated Android app. Hulu Plus is also available for the iOS platform, along with apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets.
  • Televisions (network-enabled Smart TVs): Since Hulu's inception, consumers have been able to watch Hulu on their TVs by connecting a computer with a streaming capable video controller to the TV via HDMI or other connection. Additionally, the Hulu Plus service, fully launched in November 2010, allows first-party access to Hulu from a variety of Android devices, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, Internet-connected televisions, iOS devices, and set-top boxes.
  • TiVo DVR boxes (Premiere, Premiere XL, Premiere Elite, and Roamio models)
  • WD TV Media Player
  • Web Browsers: The website is built to host content directly in a web browser.


Viewership numbers for the site are tracked by measurement firms such as ComScore, Nielsen ratings, and Quantcast. However, the reliability of these metrics has been drawn into question, partly due to widely divergent estimates. For example, between May and June 2010, ComScore updated its scoring methodology, and its estimates for Hulu dropped from 43.5 million unique viewers to 24 million in a single month.[37] Despite issues with measurements, Hulu viewership appears to be on a general decline, dropping to 19 million unique viewers in December 2011, and then to 12 million in August 2012.[38] By March 2013, the companies which own the site were considering looking for buyers for the site, with Disney and News Corp reportedly at odds about focusing on free or paid content, respectively.[39]


Content partners[edit]

Hulu distributes video on its own website and syndicates its hosting to other sites,[40] and allows users to embed Hulu clips on their websites.[5] In addition to NBC, ABC and Fox programs and movies, Hulu carries shows from networks such as A&E, Big Ten Network, Bravo, E!, Fox Sports 2, FX, G4, Ion Television, NFL Network, Oxygen, RT America, Fox Sports 1, Esquire Network, SundanceTV, Syfy, USA Network, NBCSN, and online comedy sources such as Onion News Network.[41] Hulu retains between thirty and fifty percent of advertising revenue generated by the shows it distributes.[17]

In November 2009, Hulu also began to establish partnerships with record labels to host music videos and concert performances on the site, including EMI in November 2009,[42] and Warner Music Group in December 2009.[43]

In early March 2010, Viacom announced that it was pulling two of the website's most popular shows,[44] The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, off Hulu.[44] The programs had been airing on Hulu since late 2008.[45] A spokesman for Vivendi noted that "in the current economic model, there is not that much in it for us to continue at this time. If they can get to the point where the monetization model is better, then we may go back."[45] In February 2011, both shows were made available for streaming on Hulu again.

Original content[edit]

As of January 17, 2011, Hulu has streamed its own in-house web series The Morning After, a light-hearted pop-culture news show. It is produced by Hulu in conjunction with Jace Hall's HDFilms and stars Brian Kimmet and Ginger Gonzaga. Producing the show is a first for the company, which in the past has been primarily a content distributor.[46]

On January 16, 2012, Hulu announced that it would be airing its first original script based program, titled Battleground, scheduled to air in February 2012. The program will air on Hulu's free web service rather than on the subscription-based Hulu Plus. Battleground is described as a documentary-style political drama.[47]

Later that same month, Hulu announced it would air The Fashion Fund, a six-part reality series, and the winner of the show will receive $300,000 to start their career.[48]

To continue with its original programming movement, Hulu announced that there will be a total of seven original programs that are planned to air on its service: Battleground, Day in the Life, and Up to Speed, and a were previously mentioned; and on April 19, Hulu added four more shows to its list: Don't Quit Your Daydream, Flow, The Awesomes, and We Got Next. Some of these programs began airing in 2012, while others will premiere over the next few years.[49]

On May 21, 2012, Hulu announced it would be bringing Kevin Smith to its line-up of original programming. Smith hosts a movie discussion show titled Spoilers, which began airing in the summer of 2012.[50]


Currently, Hulu's content is only available in the United States of America with licensing reasons cited.[51] Hulu was planning on launching in the UK and Ireland in September 2009, but as of April 2010 these had been abandoned for the foreseeable future after failure to sign any content deals.[52] In July 2010, the Financial Times revealed that Hulu had been working on plans for an international launch of Hulu Plus for several months, and had identified the UK and Japan as markets where its free website and subscription model could feasibly work.[53] Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar expressed his belief that the US model could be replicated elsewhere, saying "We won't be satisfied until this is a global service."[54] Hulu's first expansion into an international market took place with the launching of service in Japan on September 1, 2011.[55] Japanese users have access to a library of popular television shows such as the CSI franchise, Grey's Anatomy, Prison Break, and Ugly Betty, and as well as movies such as Armageddon, Men in Black, and Pirates of the Caribbean. In the near future, it will also add local content from Japan as well as entertainment from other Asian regions.[56]

As of February 2009, Hulu has pulled its content from CBS Corp.'s, and from Boxee, a software firm that makes Internet video suitable for viewing on a large screen, like a PC connected to a television.[57]

South Park controversy[edit]

On July 12, 2014, the South Park Studios website had became part of Hulu's episode-streaming service.[58][59][60] Along with this, Hulu began to censor its episodes (which were originally uncensored), and change the domain name from "" to "".[61][62] Previously, the show had been removed from Netflix, along with other titles.[63] This had led to criticism from many fans and viewers (including foreign viewers) of the Comedy Central TV series South Park. As a result, the Twitter trend topic "#SouthParkonHulu" has been filled with users harshly criticizing the change due to buffering issues, glitches, censorship, and not having it available in different languages.[64] They had forced them to revert back to the Viacom video player instead.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Big 2012." Hulu Blog, December 17, 2012
  2. ^ ""NBC Officially Owns 32 Percent of Hulu (Until Comcast Acquires It)" Page 17 of 26; Accessed February 14, 2010". 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  3. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  4. ^ "Today at the Hulu Upfront". Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d " Opens to Public". Press Room (Press release). Hulu. 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  6. ^ Although NBCUniversal is the largest shareholder (32%) of Hulu, by the Federal Communications Commission, NBCUniversal and Comcast are required not to exercise any right to influence the conduct or operation of Hulu. "Neither Comcast nor C-NBCU shall exercise any right to influence the conduct or operation of Hulu, including those arising from agreements, arrangements or operation of its equity interests (e.g., board seats, voting for directors or other shareholder matters, management and veto rights, etc.) and C-NBCU shall as and from the date of this Order hold its interest in Hulu solely as an economic interest." (MO&O, 1/20/11, FCC Grants Approval of Comcast-NBCU Transaction, Comcast Corporation and NBC Universal, Federal Communications Commission)
  7. ^ a b Kramer, Staci D. It's Official: Disney Joins News Corp., NBCU In Hulu; Deal Includes Some Cable Nets, April 30, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  8. ^ Brady, Shirley (2007-08-29). "NBC and Fox Jump Through Hulu Hoop". Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  9. ^ Lawler, Ryan (2012-05-12). "It’s Done: Early Hulu Investor Providence Equity Partners Has Sold Its Stake For $200M". Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  10. ^ Kilar, Jason (2008-05-14). "What's in a Name?". Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  11. ^ "NBC Universal and News Corp. Announce New Online Video Venture". Press Room (Press release). Hulu. 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  12. ^ Nat Worden (2007-03-22). "Google's Still on Top". Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  13. ^ Nat Worden (2007-08-29). "Google's New Foe: Hulu". Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  14. ^ "Hulu Debuts Via Private Beta". Press Room (Press release). Hulu. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  15. ^ "Hulu TV Ads: Alec in Huluwood". Hulu. Hulu. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  16. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (January 26, 2009). "Hulu to shock the world with Super Bowl ad". CNET News. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 
  17. ^ a b Stelter, Brian; Stone, Brad (2010-04-05). "Hulu, the online-video hub, contemplates its future". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  18. ^ Grotticelli, Michael (2010-04-26). "Hulu plans subscription service". Broadcast Engineering. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  19. ^ "6 Reasons Groupon's Rejection Of Google Is Great For The Universe". 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  20. ^ U.S. video viewing site Hulu plans an IPO: report[dead link]
  21. ^ By Dealbook (2010-08-16). "Hulu Is Said to Be Ready for an I.P.O". Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  22. ^ VASCELLARO (2011-06-21). "Website Hulu Considers Sale". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  23. ^ Parr, Ben (October 13, 2011). "Hulu Is No Longer For Sale". Mashable. Mashable, Inc. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ Van Grove, Jennifer (January 31, 2012). "Hulu CEO Jason Kilar: Original programming is an important part of the agenda.". VentureBeat. 
  25. ^ "Mike Hopkins Named CEO of Hulu". Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  26. ^ Brian Stelter, The New York Times. "Fox to Limit Next-Day Streaming on Hulu to Paying Cable Customers". July 26, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  27. ^ Wasserman, Todd, Mashable [1]
  28. ^ "Score exclusive access to WWE action on Hulu Plus". WWE, Inc. September 24, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Hulu BBC Deal, A Positive Step After Some Cloudy Times". CEOWORLD Magazine. 18 September 2013. 
  30. ^ Atkinson, Claire (2009-10-21). "Chase Carey: Hulu to Charge in 2010". Broadcasting & Cable. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  31. ^ Sandoval, Greg (22 October 2009). "More signs Hulu subscription service is coming". Media Maverick. CNET. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  32. ^ Nakashima, Ryan January 13, 2012. "Hulu Plus ends year with 1.5 million subscribers".
  33. ^ Sandoval, Greg (2010-06-29). "Hulu unveils $9.99 premium service". CNET. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  34. ^ "Orb TV brings Hulu to the TV minus the fee". Los Angeles Times. 19 November 2010. 
  35. ^ Josh Lowensohn (13 Apr 2008). "Hulu update allows in-feed RSS video viewing". Cnet. Retrieved 23 Oct 2013. 
  36. ^ Brian Heater (6 Mar 2009). "Boxee Circumvents Hulu Ban with RSS Reader". PCMag. Retrieved 23 Oct 2013. 
  37. ^ Dawn C. Chmielewski (26 Jul 2010). "Hulu's sharp decline in viewership underscores inconsistency in measuring size of online audience". LA Times. Retrieved 1 Nov 2013. 
  38. ^ Erik Gruenwedel (22 Oct 2012). "The Mystery Surrounding Declining Hulu Viewership". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved 1 Nov 2013. 
  39. ^ Matthew Rocco (26 Mar 2013). "Hulu Reportedly Talking to Potential Buyers". Fox Business. 
  40. ^ Rebecca Dana and Emily Steel (2008-03-11). "Can Hulu Find Its Mojo With Viewers?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  41. ^ "ABC to offer shows on Hulu". The Live Feed. April 30, 2009. 
  42. ^ Albanesius, Chloe (November 18, 2009). "Hulu, EMI Strike Deal for Music Videos, Concerts". PC Magazine. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  43. ^ Albanesius, Chloe (December 23, 2009). "Hulu, Warner Music Sign Deal for Music Content". PC Magazine. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  44. ^ a b New York Daily News article: "Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report' off Hulu."
  45. ^ a b Multichannel News article: "Dauman: Vivendi Could Return To Hulu."
  46. ^ Liz Shannon Miller (2011-01-18). "New Series The Morning After Nudges Hulu Into Production". GigaOM. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  47. ^ Rother, Larry, January 16, 2012, "Hulu Announces First Original-Script-Based Program".
  48. ^ Poggi Jeanine January 27, 2012. Hulu Adds Unscripted Series 'The Fashion Fund,' Accelerating Original Content Effort."
  49. ^ Perez, Sarah (April 19, 2012). "Hulu Announces Four More Original Series". TechCrunch. 
  50. ^ Wasserman, Todd (May 21, 2012). "Hulu to Launch New Show With Kevin Smith Plus 9 Other Titles". Mashable. 
  51. ^ "Hulu - Support". Retrieved September 2, 2011. "We are happy to announce Hulu is now available in Japan. While we have every intention to make Hulu's growing content lineup available worldwide in the future, we don't have a timetable or any news regarding expansion beyond Japan at this time. For more information information [sic] about Hulu Japan, please visit Our intention is to make Hulu's growing content lineup available worldwide as quickly as possible. This requires working with the content owners to clear the rights for each show or film in each specific region. It's a long-term project. We don't have a definite timeline, but we'll continue to work to make it happen." 
  52. ^ Barnett, Emma. Hulu 'abandons UK plans' after broadcaster talks collapse, The Daily Telegraph, April 27, 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  53. ^ Garrahan, Matthew. Hulu eyes launching global pay platform, Financial Times, July 8, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  54. ^ Laughlin, Andrew. Hulu 'puts UK launch back on agenda', Digital Spy, July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  55. ^ "Summary Box: Hulu launches video subscription service in Japan". Washington Post. September 1, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011. [dead link]
  56. ^ "Hulu launches its first overseas operation in Japan". Asia Pacific Arts. 09/01/2011. 
  57. ^ Holmes, Elizabeth (2009-02-19). "Hulu Withdraws its content from, Boxee". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
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External links[edit]