Hulu has topped 28 million U.S. subscribers, gaining at least 3 million users since January, the streamer announced ahead of its NewFront presentation on Wednesday morning. This includes 26.8 million paid subscribers and 1.3 million promotional accounts.
Hulu enters the NewFronts as the streaming marketplace grows increasingly crowded. It continues to play catch-up to Netflix, which boasts over 60 million users in the U.S.
The company’s ownership mix has also changed in recent months. Walt Disney now owns 60 percent of Hulu after its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets and is reportedly in talks with Comcast to acquire its 30 percent stake in the company. Last month, Hulu bought back a 9.5 percent stake in itself from AT&T.
While Hulu has less commercial clutter than traditional TV, the streamer has been looking to pare it down even further, with plans for 50 percent of its ad revenue to come from non-intrusive formats by 2021.
To this end, Hulu also announced a new binge-watch ad format that will allow brands to target viewers who are watching multiple episodes of a show in a row with an ad that’s situationally relevant to their viewing behavior—so an ad for a snack, for example.
Earlier this year Hulu debuted pause ads that deliver a brand message when a viewer pauses a program.
On the content front, Hulu expanded its partnership with Marvel, announcing two new live-action series, “Marvel’s Ghost Rider” and “Marvel’s Helstrom.”
It is also getting into the food-originals business, striking a deal with Vox Media Studios, David Chang’s MajorDomo Media and Chrissy Teigen’s Suit & Thai Productions to create food-focused originals. One of the first shows being produced is a cooking show featuring Chang and Teigen tentatively titled “Family Style.” The show will center on the ways people express their love for friends and family by cooking and eating together.
Also in the pipeline is a documentary series with the tentative title “Eater’s Guide to the World,” which takes a look at the most interesting and delicious restaurants on the planet.
Hulu also inked a two-year deal with Teigen to develop original programming, which could range from scripted dramas to talk shows.
Other new Hulu series include “Nine Perfect Strangers,” an adaptation of the Liane Moriarty novel, and limited series “The Dropout,” which stars Kate McKinnon as Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Hulu also renewed freshman comedies “Pen15” and “Ramy.”