Back in March Hulu’s CEO Jason Kilar predicted that the video streaming site was on pace to make half a billion dollars in revenue in 2011.  They didn’t quite make it, but according to statistics released on the Hulu blog they came very close, clocking in at $420 million in revenue last year.

Kilar reports, “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.”

The chart below illustrates Hulu’s growth in revenue from 2008 through 2011.

So where did this huge increase in revenue come from?  For starters, from Hulu Plus subscribers, who pay $7.99 per month for the service.  The company announced that they now have more than 1.5 million paying subscribers and the number of new subscribers continues to grow.  Kilar says, “Hulu Plus has reached 1.5 million paid subscribers faster than any video subscription service launch (online or offline) in U.S. history.”  By the end of this year, they expect subscription services to account for over half of the site’s overall business!

Additionally, Joshua Cohen of Tubefilter estimates that Hulu had an average of about 13.745 billion video ads viewed in 2011, up from about 11.711 billion in 2010.  Freewheel statistics released last month show that people are now watching more video ads per online video than ever before and we will probably see an even bigger increase in 2012.

So what does Hulu plan to do with all this revenue?  Jason Kilar says, “We are excited to invest approximately half a billion in content in 2012 on behalf of our users… We will remain relentless in our pursuit of better ways.”  So Hulu users—it looks like big things are coming, content wise, this year!

Image credit: violetkaipa via Shutterstock

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.