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Hulu 2013 Sales Hit $1 Billion as 5 Million Buy Service

Hulu LLC, the online TV service, said 2013 revenue will reach $1 billion, a 44 percent increase that reflects the growing popularity of Web-based viewing and the company’s programming.

Paying subscribers reached 5 million earlier this year, Chief Executive Officer Mike Hopkins said today on Hulu’s blog. The company plans to double its original programming over the next few years from more than 20 shows in 2013, Hopkins said.

“When you think about the fact that Hulu first launched out of beta in 2008, it’s quite an impressive feat to scale the business from zero to $1 billion over the course of just six years,” Hopkins said.

Hulu and industry leader Netflix Inc. are enjoying a surge in popularity as the number of devices that stream films and TV shows increases and consumers grow comfortable watching on the go. About half of Hulu’s paying subscribers view programs on Internet-connected devices that include the Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One video game system and Apple Inc.’s iPad, Hopkins said.

Hulu provides current season programs from five of the six largest U.S. broadcast networks, part of an offering that includes 2,900 TV series from 488 content partners, Hopkins said. Original programs such as “The Awesomes” and “Behind the Mask” were among Hulu’s 10 most-watched shows each week a new episode aired.

Hulu offers a free, ad-supported service and the $7.99-a-month Hulu Plus. The company’s roster of advertisers rose 15 percent to more than 1,000 brands, Hopkins said, while Hulu’s employee head count climbed almost 20 percent to 725. Hopkins, a former Fox executive, was named CEO in October.

Hulu’s owners, Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc. and Comcast Corp., called off a planned sale of the business in July, agreeing instead to invest $750 million in the business.

“We ultimately concluded that, even though we had some very compelling offers on the table, the future of Hulu is bright,” Robert Iger told Bloomberg TV at the time.

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