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Hulu Aims for $1 Billion in Revenue Despite Rocky 2013


Given our status as a proud nation of binge-watchers, it's no surprise that Hulu's looking good right now. But it's hardly been an easy year for the media-streaming service, which spent some time on the market and saw the departures of several top executives, including its CEO.

Mike Hopkins, Hulu's current CEO, touted the company's year-end accomplishments in a blog post on Tuesday titled "A Strong 2013." Hopkins said he expects Hulu to reach $1 billion in revenue in 2013, up from $695 million last year.

"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," he wrote.

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Hopkins said the company now has 5 million subscribers on Hulu Plus, its paid-subscription service, which is accessible on more than 400 million internet-connected devices in the United States. Hulu also continued to be a home for original programming, launching over 20 titles, including The Awesomes, an animated series co-created by SNL's Seth Meyers, and sports mascot docu-reality series Behind the Mask.

The report paints a rosy picture of what has been a tumultuous year for the streaming service. Hulu had been in "meaningful conversations" with potential buyers until July, when its co-owners 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Co. decided to take it off the market and pump it with a $750 million investment instead.

"We believe the best path forward for Hulu is a meaningful recapitalization that will further accelerate its growth under the current ownership structure," Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, had said in a statement at the time.

Hulu also saw the departures of both its CEO Jason Kilar and chief technology officer Rich Tom in April. Those departures were followed by the exit of interim CEO Andy Forssell in October.

Still, Hulu seems to have made it work. In a 15% increase from 2012, Hulu now presents advertising for more than 1,000 brands and Hopkins described 2013 as "a record year for consumption as Hulu viewers streamed more than 1 billion content videos in each quarter." The streaming service was also number one in "engagement among top ad supported online video sites."

Hulu currently has 725 employees, having hired 140 people in the last two quarters.  

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