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2011, 2012 and beyond.

January 12th, 2012 by Jason Kilar CEO

We just closed the books on a big 2011 for Hulu.  As a team, we recently reflected on our 2011 investments in innovation and thought it would be an appropriate time to share some of those thoughts via this post.

First, some results:

– We grew the business 60% from 2010 to approximately $420 million in revenue. We exceeded our plan despite the soft advertising market (economy) in the second half of 2011. Overall the Hulu ad business grew aggressively and Hulu Plus materially exceeded our plan.

– Hulu Plus now has more than 1.5 million paying subscribers and this number continues to grow extremely fast. Hulu Plus has reached 1.5 million paid subscribers faster than any video subscription service launch (online or offline) in U.S. history. We are attracting more than 2x the number of subscribers each day when compared to this time last year. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, we expect our subscription services to account for more than half of Hulu’s overall business later this year.

– In 2011, we dramatically expanded the content available to Hulu and Hulu Plus customers. Hulu’s content offering grew approximately 40% vs 2010; Hulu Plus’ content offering grew more than 105%. Hulu Plus is the only online video subscription service that offers current season content from 5 of the 6 largest U.S. broadcast networks, with shows from The CW and Univision added this past quarter. In 2011, we added a long roster of great current series, including Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Misfits, Revenge, Terra Nova, Up All Night, New Girl, Una Familia Con Suerte, The Secret Circle, Hart of Dixie, Ringer, Community and many more.

– In 2011, we invested heavily in the development of apps that empower users to access Hulu Plus from a wide variety of devices. Hulu Plus is now accessible on leading consumer electronics devices and mobile operating systems with a combined installed base of over 200 million. Some of the new devices we developed custom applications for include: Microsoft Xbox 360, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble’s NOOK Tablet, select Android smartphones, LG, Panasonic and VIZIO TVs and Blu-ray players, and many more.

– The innovative Hulu advertising service continues to lead the online video advertising market, with the largest market share of a rapidly expanding market. We have now served over 1,000 brand advertisers in our company’s short history. We are relentless in our mission to be the most effective video advertising service on the planet, which we believe is a function of respecting users and empowering them with tools like Hulu Ad Swap and Hulu Ad Selector.

As you might expect based on the 2011 results mentioned above and our recent launch of Hulu in Japan, we as a team are very bullish on where things go from here. We have conviction that digital ultimately becomes the primary way that consumers across the globe choose to access content. We have been focused on building a strong foundation that empowers the Hulu team to best serve customers (users, advertisers, and content owners). As just one example, our dual revenue stream Hulu Plus business model enables us to compensate content owners much more than anyone else in the online subscription market on a per subscriber basis. At scale, our model allows us to profitably pay content owners approximately 50% more in content licensing fees per subscriber when compared to other similarly priced online subscription services. We believe our approach will enable us to secure more valuable content for our users and to secure content in more attractive windows than would otherwise be possible. To that end, we are excited to invest approximately half a billion in content in 2012 on behalf of our users.

Thank you for continuing to be a part of this Hulu journey and for allowing us to serve you. We will remain relentless in our pursuit of better ways.


Last comment: Jul 16th 2015 55 Comments
  • Alex says:

    To many ads on Hulu.
    The commercials on Hulu had increased by more than 50%, and also seemed to be more frequent.
    This is the same for Hulu Plus.

    All the shows I watch on Hulu are from other sites.
    Like Arrow, Supernatural on CW or Warehouse 13 , Paranormal Witness on SyFy just to name a few.
    If you go to the web site for your shows you will see you can watch most of not all of them with no commercials. Just do a Google search and you will see how to find the show you are looking for and then book mark it.

    I now have a list of 17 shows I use to watch on Hulu that all all saved under my bookmarks that I can watch with no adds and sometimes I get to see them before Hulu has them on line.

  • james ortiz says:

    Waiting for a public response.

  • James Ortiz says:

    I discontinued my Hulu Plus account in protest of the gross increase in commercial content. When the service first started I viewed Hulu as an inovator, dare I say cool even for using the internet to provide a service that felt fair and overall unrestricted. I didn’t mind watching a stupid commercial or two because it wasn’t a major distraction. I logged onto Hulu to watch my favorite shows and for the most part Hulu delivered. Back then the internet was free. It was a new media, exciting and dynamic. Now it’s just like every other thing that goes south once corporate america gets their greedy hands on it. This is one middle class cash cow you won’t be fleecing. And don’t give me that crap about needing ads in order to provide a service. Even a rose can have too many thorns.

    “Ads on Hulu Plus help pay for the videos on our site, most of which are from current-season TV, which means they can be very expensive to license”. THAT! sir or ma’am is not my problem. If Networks are charging so much money that you feel that your only remaining course of action is to wholly spoil the experience for your user base, whether they know it or not, then you should take a long hard look at the one sided system that you seem so proud of. Instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to innovate, Hulu would rather proliferate the practices that in the end, whether you like it or not, serve to frustrate and alienate a growing segment of their bottom line.

  • dl99 says:

    I will NEVER pay for a service that has ads. Period.

  • Hi there,

    Thanks for posting I’m sorry for the frustration. I’d be happy to give a bit of background here.

    Ads on Hulu Plus help pay for the videos on our site, most of which are from current-season TV, which means they can be very expensive to license. The money from these ads also helps us expand our library even further, allowing us to offer more of the shows our users are interested in watching – often for free. Another thing to note is that we have the same number and placement of ad breaks as traditional TV, but the duration of our ad breaks is about 50% shorter.

    Thank you for your understanding. Our service will continue to grow, so you’ll see changes over time, but I hope this helps clarify our current ad model a little.

    Hulu Support

  • Brooks says:

    I just canceled Hulu Plus, because their are WAY TOO MANY AD’S. And you can’t event fast forward a show without watching another 90sec ad every time you click the navigation bar. Makes finding a fav part in a show impossible, unless you feel like watch 30 minutes of ad’s. I’ll just go back to DVR’ing my shows again, at first HULU was good, but they have gone so ad crazy they don’t even have a usable product anymore.

  • MD says:

    Hulu Plus is going to lose me. I would rather pay Amazon to watch commercial free. 10 to 12 commercials or more for 43 minutes of viewing is too many for a paid subscription. Hulu needs to wise up…

  • Hulu Subscriber says:

    I don’t know what everyone is all up in arms over google tv for, I have looked at the device multiple times and found it to be lacking on all fronts,… it much like BetaMax will not be around long. I haven’t had a ROKU device but I DO have the WD TV Live Hub and a PS3, both of which play hulu content very well, as does my samsung smart tv. ditch those crappy google tv’s.

    I would suggest that google tv user stop whining about their poor choice in devices and purchase the WD TV live (not necessarily the hub model, the live is great also). One other point that should be made while people are clamouring for device support, I only want (1) device in my living room, not 15 and almost all of the media players are now cramming cinavia down your throat ( I don’t know if google tv has cinavia or not). The WD Live’s don’t have this, and if you turn off the update, they never will! What they do, however do is stream any and every type of media file you can list and they’ll do it from a home media server, even mount and play iso of DVD’s and BluRays,…. get with the new age people!

    Now, Hulu;

    1) Your ads are ridiculous, offer me a no ad subscription or you risk losing my revenue. Period.
    contrary to the opinions of content providers I am paying for content not advertising. Black market sources for media contain no advertising and cost nothing, stop driving people to this source!
    2) Web only content is unacceptable, as has been stated those who want this content must build/purchase an HTPC, or watch from a laptop/pc – really? At this point as a user I don’t need you anymore as I can stream the content directly from the source website,… Continue this trend and you lose my revenue.
    3) There is a lot of talk about streaming rights, licensing, etc. These are technical hurdles, but they are HULU’s problem,.. not mine I can just go elsewhere if you don’t resolve them. I don’t need to patient or sympathetic as I am the person with the money, others would like to have it you know. I will get what I want, and I won’t wait for it or pay through the nose for it. I just might maybe not get it from you.
    4) Get a live channel feed for content that really matters. Partner with Fox News, Fox Business, Weather Channel, etc so you have a news offering, many people are clinging to cable/satellite just for this. Skip CNN they are rubbish, though MSNBC might be worthwhile to some.

    Bottom line, your subscriber base has cut the cable for good reason, corporate greed, excessive pricing, out of control advertising, the list goes on. You stand on the verge of going down this same road unless you address the (4) concerns above. This is Hulu’s big chance to tip the scales, don’t frack it up!

  • Chris says:

    I also cancelled due to lack of GoogleTV support. Was it really necessary to block the GoogleTv device from the website? Regardless of the cause (big-media’s unwillingness to evolve?) — the product suffers.

  • Thank you, I’ve just been looking for info approximately this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive about the source?

  • Joe Edwards says:

    I also bought a Sony Google TV today and find that I cannot use it to play Hulu Plus. This makes NO SENSE considering I can watch it on a computer hooked to my TV, via my PS3 and 360 which are hooked to my TV, via my Roku which is hooked to my TV. The licensing BS is just that, BS….if Hulu Plus didn’t work on the PS3, 360, Wii, and Roku I might believe Hulu’s statement….but as it stands I am cancelling my Hulu Plus subscription out of principle. I guess it will be easier to just go back to AT&T U-verse and DVR.

  • LWS says:

    The number of ads have increases exponentially; so much so that I’m thinking of unsubscribing from plus. That combined with so many web-only shows doesn’t seem worth it to me. A lot of the shows that I’m interested in are not on your service. Biggest issue, to many ads!

  • Robbzilla says:

    No Hulu Plus for Google TV = No money for you from me. FYI.

  • Julie Catherine Kyle says:

    “… The innovative Hulu advertising service continues to lead the online video advertising market, with the largest market share of a rapidly expanding market. …”
    There is nothing whatsoever INNOVATIVE about Hulu’s advertising service. Because I pay for this service, I get SO FRUSTRATED that I still have to be subjected to a never-ending barrage of ads. Lately it seems the auto ads are the most ridiculous.

  • Rudy Silva says:

    question: Im getting hulu Plus, why am i still getting ads?

    suggestion: Hulu Desktop, all the menus and channel info are:
    -way too big and take up too much of my screen
    -stay on the screen to long
    The channel info and all the displays are taking up the screen, and staying up there too long. It’s doesn’t feel like a clean interface, it feels like an awkward obstruction.

  • Chris says:

    Hi Hulu Support,
    It has become unacceptable that my android devices (galaxy nexus and galaxy tab 10.1) cannot support hulu but they have no issue supporting Netflix. The only explanation is the Netflix is a superior service and Hulu does not think I or my devices are worth their time. I will be unsubscribing until it is deemed that I am worthy of your service.


  • Hi Michael,

    Thanks for reaching out to us! I’m sorry for any confusion you’re experiencing with our content availability.

    I’m afraid that not all our content is available for Hulu Plus. It is our goal to make all of our content available for your Wii. Unfortunately, streaming to mobile devices and TV is a separate set of streaming rights. Our content team is hard at work to make this happen, but these negotiations take time.

    You can browse the full list of Hulu Plus content here ( http://www.hulu.com/plus/content ). I’m sorry for your disappointment, but I’m sure you’ll see improvement over time as we continue to work this out!

    Hulu Support

  • Michael says:

    Why are new episodes on my computer but not on my Wii?

  • Hi Scott,

    We’re still working on getting Google TV on on roster of compatible devices. Lots of folks ask us about it, so we definitely know there’s a demand.

    Before we can support Google TV, however, we need to obtain a specific set of streaming rights for our content. In addition, we also need agreements in place with our content providers, hardware manufacturers, and Google itself.

    While there’s no official news, if or when Google TV support is announced, you’ll see it at ( http://www.hulu.com/plus/devices ).

    If there’s anything else I can address for you, please let me know.

    Hulu Support

  • Scott T says:

    I had Hulu Plus for almost 2 years then bought my GoogleTV Box when it went to $99. I bought before the GoogleTV upgrade because Hulu told me that they were working with Google. Upgrade for GoogleTV came out, no HuluPlus so I cancelled HuluPlus and went with Netflix. I enjoy NO ads and am staying put. Bad move Hulu…

  • A says:

    Not sure why the Google TV owners can’t buy a Roku. Used ones can be had quite cheaply.

    It’s pretty clear Google has been taken over by hubris and soul-less MBAs. All it does these days is squelch creativity and make power plays. Don’t encourage them – buy a true independent.

  • J says:

    Can’t wait for Hulu Plus and Google TV to resolve their problems – we know this is not a technical challenge but must be a money or political issue. Please bring Hulu Plus to Google TV!!!!

  • Felix Sarkissian says:

    It’s very nice that you are showing off your success, but for the throngs of people with Google TV (I, being one) who bought it thinking they will not have an issue getting Hulu on their Android based device, it’s just a point of anger. There we are sitting in front of an advance device where the future suppose to happen, and yet for whatever reason we’re being denied a major source of media because Hulu is not being made available for Google TV. I’m sure it’s nothing technical that is stopping you guys. So resolve the issues and let us enjoy what we can with other devices. It’s quite silly to see what is happening to this great service. I shall await Hulu’s availability on GoogleTV before spending a dime on you guys.

  • Hi Mike,

    We get quite a few requests for Google TV availability, and are working to make it a possibility. Unfortunately I can’t when/if it may become a reality, but we’ll be sure to let everyone know when we can!

    Hulu Support

  • Mike Plaspohl says:

    Like so many others here, I have a Sony Blu ray with Google TV. I Tried Hulu plus and I love it, definitely worth the money. However, until Hulu+ comes to Google TV I have no use for it, and will continue to suspend my subscription until it comes available.

    Please PLEASE bring Hulu Plus to Google tv!!

  • Eric P says:

    I just signed up for Hulu Plus only to find I cant use it on my Google TV which means I will be cancelling my subscription. Please fix whatever the issue is between Hulu and Google TV so the rest of us can enjoy this service:

  • orion says:

    I am new to this type of viewing (streaming), and I am so disappointed! I am a Netflix subscriber, and have a free Hulu account. I just bought a Sony Blu-ray/Internet TV, powered by Google TV, and cannot view Hulu. Looking at other devices, I see that Hulu will play on other Sony equipment, and so this leads me to believe that Hulu is in a petty squabble with Google. Disgusting! Get it together Hulu! I will *never* subscribe to Hulu Plus so long as this stupidity continues! Guess I’ll just have to plug my laptop (Sony) into my TV, and watch the shows I can’t get on Netflix. Most inconvenient, and the reason I bought the Google TV in the first place, so all I can say is – really Hulu? This is pretty stupid!

  • Uriel says:

    I write this message from my Google TV its so disappointing that your services aren’t being made available to such an amazing platform. I refuse to subscribe to Hulu+ until it creates a partnership with Google TV because otherwise its really not worth it for me since I’m able to search and find all my content through other means. I hope this is the year when both parties can establish some common ground e.g making more money to serve the demands of the masses.

  • Ashwin says:

    So you are siynag that ranking on a brand new domain for your primary targeted traffic keyword is nothing to brag about. Can you do me a favor then, buy a brand new domain and do it without paid links… just straight seo… then i will listen. It’s not that i don’t believe you but lets see you do it… you kind of got aggressive on your response so show me. I am not talking about ridiculous long tail terms no one searches for… i mean getting a site ranking for its main traffic term and getting 150+ visitors a day within 5 days.

  • Hiba says:

    Great to read a few more tgnhis about you! And thanks for the tag! Will have to brainstorm ;-)

  • Taylor Bradshaw says:

    I too am planning to cancel my Hulu subscription since it does not support Google TV.

  • GibiaSwinnisy says:

    Здравствуйте ! Меня трогает содержание:
    Не можете найти что-нибудь интересное на просторах интернета? Узнайте про в лазер работа, лазер шов или ожог лазером у нас на портале!
    Подобно правильно понять это?

  • Dann says:

    Losing 30 rock means losing me. This isn’t the future we were promised.

  • I don’t understand why people complain about the ad’s you have to watch them when watching your cable or satellite service and you pay 10x more for that than Hulu+

    While I am not currently a subscriber I was thinking about it and investigating the idea. However Hulu does not have new episodes generally until a week after they air on TV. This bothers me. Why would I buy into Hulu+ when I can watch all the new stuff on the network site like Fox.com, Cbs.com, Abc.com, etc. Seems they all have players and offer about the same content for free.

    I could see if every network did not have their own players but unless all I want to do is watch every episode for a show what’s the point?

    I just don’t understand why I should pay for a service when the networks are offering it for free.

  • Evan says:

    I really like Hulu (and Hulu +) and am a current subscriber. The service works very well on all of my desktop/laptops, even those running Linux. Kudos to you for cross-platform compatibility! At the same time, however, I am confused why it is taking so long to push the service out to more devices. Yes, Android devices do have differing specifications, but so do laptop computers, and there is no problem with using Hulu+ on all of those. Furthermore, development for platforms that have been ok’d seems to take an awful long time. Case in point, the Wii and 3DS. Finally, I will join the throngs of other current and past subscribers clamoring for GoogleTV support. Though I do not plan on canceling my subscription because of this, I definitely won’t suggest Hulu+ to my friends until you do so.

  • Jeremiah Boughton says:

    I have been a Hulu Plus subscriber for over a year! I have probably only used your service less than 5 hours during my subscription time! I will be canceling my service this month unless I can watch Hulu Plus on my Google TV. I cannot believe that a paying customer cannot watch Hulu Plus on his computer (Google TV). I wonder how that is even legal!!!!

  • Katy K says:

    I adore Hulu. Love it. However, I feel, as a subscriber, that there are some small things that need fixed. For instance, when you leave a graphic indicating that a Hulu + subsriber can access it, but others cannot; it needs to be accesible by the subscriber. I try to watch old episodes of “Once Upon A Time” and it gives me a 90 second preview rather than the real deal. Please give these older episodes a chance to be seen by the subscribers that pay for this service.

  • I’m Hulu+ subscriber. The ads don’t diturb me, but i want to propose you to make all content available at mobiles and tablets.

  • Julie says:

    Please provide WII support at last. Waiting for it or connect to Hulu+

  • Peter says:

    no access on google tv = no hulu plus.

  • Nick P says:

    Invest more in the apps as others have noticed. I’m a PAID plus subscriber who can’t get Hulu Plus on any of my Android 4.0 devices. Why am I still paying you guys for the service? Your N..flix competitor has their apps working on MANY MANY more devices and are not as restrictive on tying down the service to a specific device. If the app loads N…flix’s app WORKS, yours even if the app loads pops up “unsupported device” STOP doing this and maybe you will see more plus users. Also consider “paid options” tied to an advertiser per episode to avoid commercials; e.g. If an advert involves a product sold online; if I buy it; great I should get no ads… possibly simplify that with “pay to avoid ads per episode” – but NOT at Apple iTunes store per episode rates.

  • Shaun says:

    Why are so many people complaining about ads on their Hulu+? People have been doing this for 30 years with paying for cable and the complaint has been about the cost of cable – not that there are ads on the channels.
    Given that there are fewer ads shown and that I’m paying $8 a month instead of $150 I’m more than happy to deal with it.

  • Rafael Rodriguez says:

    Please bring us some tv series and movies from Spain!

  • Daryl Kulak says:

    I’m a paid Hulu Plus subscriber since day one. I love your service. But I have two requests:

    a. Please give me an option to run with no advertising. I’m guessing you would need to charge me double in order to do that. That would be great. (I can see by the other comments I’m not the only one askin’.)

    b. You’ve stated that Hulu invested heavily in apps last year. Please invest more heavily this year. The Hulu apps on Roku and the Samsung Blu-ray player are buggy. They crash constantly. My wife and I are heavy TV viewers and I would estimate that one or the other of these apps (we have both devices) crash once a day. It feels like the bad ole days of Windows 95.

    Having complained bitterly, I do still love Hulu. Most exciting to me are the Hulu exclusives, which seem to be imports from other markets (U.K., etc.) which we would not otherwise be able to see. Misfits was a wonderful first season. Spy is a lot of fun. Please, keep up the exclusives, they are a nice touch.

    I also appreciate that Hulu doesn’t just try to copy the popular Netflix user interface. You are doing your own thing. Several other movie apps just blatantly copy the Netflix UI, but you are innovating. Some of those innovations will fall flat (like the confusing queue vs subscription vs favorites), but others are great (the revolving home page highlighting new cool stuff).

    I’ve written several blog posts on my family’s ability to cut the cable addiction in 2008. Hulu (and subsequently Hulu Plus) have been cornerstones of our ability to do that. As a result, we save about $70 a month. Thank you Hulu. Here’s to a great 2012!

  • Kate Tykocki says:

    We’d love to get Hulu+ but have a Wii. When will the Wii version become available? I’ve seen lots of reports that it was supposed to be ready in October or November of 2011.

  • CM says:

    Congrats I would love to stay with Hulu Plus as subscriber but had no choice not to because of lack of captions or subtitles feature on Roku and XBox. We usually use laptop or computer to watch Hulu but now we shift toward Roku and XBox as more convenient for TV screen. I hope you consider to add subtitle or caption feature in the new year 2012. Netflix succeeded by doing that right now as I am currently subscriber to it because of it. CM

  • Paul Lott says:

    I would love to see a little effort put back in to the Roku Hulu+ player. It is buggy causing tons of lockups and crashes, very annoying.. As for everything else, I love it. Hulu+ has great current content and is priced perfect. I have noticed more current and longer advertising which i can get used to but is noticeable.

  • Good day Jason,
    Hulu Plus is a great product; will we be see an app for Android tablets like the Xoom or the Acer Transformer soon?

  • Eric Bruce says:

    I understand why we have to watch ads on Hulu Plus. I do wish they were less repetitive and, perhaps, more tailored to my interests, but I get it–and if it keeps subscription costs down, the better.

    However, I share the other users’ opinions about “Web Only” content. It’s getting to a point where I have to hook my laptop up to my TV for half of the shows I watch. My fiancee watches all of those lame “Real Housewives” shows and, while I dislike them, she doesn’t and all of them are “Web Only.” Plus, they are released sporadically and sometimes out of order. Same with “Fringe” on Fox–there is a week delay on new episodes. That show is having ratings problems and the network is making it HARDER to watch the show. Why?

    If Hulu is to capitalize on a successful 2011, it has to address these issues in 2012. That AND bring back “The Booth at the End.” Simply brilliant.

  • Jonathon McDougall says:

    Another Hulu+ subscriber here (at least currently). Like Mike, I don’t mind the Ads, though they are rather repetitive. My biggest complaint is the restriction of content as “Web Only”. I know this may be a restriction brought on by the content providers, but seriously – where do you think my Roku box is getting content other than the Web? Why on earth is it OK for me to connect my laptop to my TV and see all content, but not my Roku or my iPad?

    There is seeming to be less and less reason to subscribe to Hulu+ if you are going to make me connect a computer to my TV to watch almost half the shows that are interesting, I might as well just go with the free version.

    We want to pay you! Stop making it so darned inconvenient to feel like we are getting value.

  • PeteG says:

    Hulu should make more effort to provide original content. For example, if Community does get canceled, Hulu should pick it up. It’s a proven fan-favorite, and Hulu wouldn’t have the overhead of paying a network. There are tons of shows like this, and their fans prefer to watch them online anyway. It’s a win-win.

  • Mike Sklens says:

    Another Hulu+ subscriber here. I don’t mind the ads. They’re mostly unobtrusive compared to traditional TV and the service costs FAR less than traditional TV service. The only things I would like to see you focus on in 2012 are getting an AppleTV app out there (I’ve heard Apple is actually blocking this, any truth to that?) and getting all content available on devices. It drives me nuts that I can’t watch Louie on my TV. I understand that this is in the hands of the content owners, and I hope you can convince them to stop being dinosaurs. If a show isn’t available on a device, there is a 99% I’m not going to walk over to my computer to watch it and therefore they are LOSING money from me due to their stubbornness.

  • Ross Magargee says:

    What about shows that you lost? Like Ghost Hunters and other from SYFY CHANNEL TO NAME ONE OF A FEW THAT I DID GET FROM YOU ALL AND NOW CAN NOT. Was their demands too great or was they just a$$holes about it and you dropped them? That is was I heard from other places. If not are you going to get them back?

  • Jonathan Howe says:

    Subscriber to Hulu + here. I’ve quit and re-signed up for Hulu + several times- why? Many users don’t like paying for + AND watching ads, I’m one of them. I also find the restriction of many shows to Web only or to only the last few episodes to be upsetting. It seems to me that paying for a service should give me total access. I realize many of these issues may be related to stubborn-ness of the content owners. I hope that in the new year you all at Hulu will redouble your efforts to provide a great service to users and push back against the stubbornness and greed of the big media conglomerates. I see great potential in Hulu and wish you the best.