Hulu is spending around $2.5 billion on content this year, according to a report from Variety, citing remarks made by Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins at an event this week at the Paley Center for Media in New York. The streaming service, which has now earned its first Emmy nods with over a dozen nominations for "The Handmaid's Tale," will also launch seven new original series, arriving in the next six to nine months, Hopkins said.
The investment in content is another indication of far today's services have to go in order to attract subscribers. It's no longer enough to just offer a more convenient entry point into the world of streaming video, they also need to acquire "must watch" content that viewers can't get elsewhere.
Despite Hulu's billions of investment in content, it's still falling behind both Netflix and Amazon on this front, Variety noted. Netflix had said it's spending around $6 billion on content in 2017, and plans to increase that to $7 billion in 2018. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video's budget is estimated to be around $4.5 billion. But Hulu is ahead of Apple, which was recently said to be spending $1 billion in 2018 to flesh out its own streaming service, Apple Music.
But Hulu's smaller number, in part, can be attributed to the fact that it's only targeting the U.S. audience, while both Netflix and Amazon have global distribution, the report noted.
Hulu has not disclosed whether or not it's increasing its content budget in 2018, or what those figures may be.
However, original content is now no longer Hulu's only draw. The company this year launched a live TV service that competes with others like Sling TV, Vue, YouTube TV and DirecTV Now. It's unclear how many subscribers have signed up, but last year the company had 12 million for its on-demand offering. It has since begun to report "viewership" numbers instead - a figure that reached 47 million total uniques as of this May.
More recently, Hulu partnered with Spotify on a deal that will bundle their services together for a lower price than if bought separately. Initially this bundle is being sold to students, but the companies said more packaged options would arrive in the future.