While Hulu Gains Millions of New Subscribers, Cable Companies Are Still Raising Prices

The streaming service could earn even more subscribers in 2019.
  • Hulu ended the year with over 25 million total subscribers, up from about 17 million subscribers in 2017.
  • The increase in viewership allowed the streaming company to surge past the biggest U.S. cable and pay-TV providers.
  • In a common practice, cable companies are set to raise prices┬ádespite subscriber gains from streaming competitors.

Video streaming service Hulu entered the new year firing on all cylinders, adding 8 million subscribers in 2018 and surpassing the total viewership of the biggest cable providers — including co-owner Comcast.

Meanwhile, despite record customer losses, cable and pay-TV providers such as DirecTV and Dish are planning to hike their monthly fees in 2019. Ballooning cable fees could incentivize customers to hop on the cord-cutting trend in favor of cheaper streaming services — like Hulu.

How Many Subscribers Does Hulu Have?

Hulu boasts more than 25 million subscribers across its live TV and subscription video-on-demand plans, as of Jan. 8. According to the streaming company, Hulu subscriber growth in 2018 marked a 48 percent increase year over year. “We added more subscribers in the U.S. than Netflix,” Hulu CEO Randy Freer told CNBC in an interview. “We expect to grow more this year than we did last year.”

Other highlights reported by Hulu demonstrate that the streaming service has captured a lucrative subset of subscribers: young and prosperous. The Hulu audience, on average, is 32 years old compared to the typical 56-year-old broadcast TV viewer — a difference of nearly 25 years. The average annual household income of Hulu subscribers also increased to $93,000 in 2018, which is approximately $30,000 higher than the median household income in America, according to 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Save More: 7 Tips and Tricks to Cut Your Phone and Cable Bill in Half

Cable Prices Are Going Up — Again

Even as streaming services grow in popularity among U.S. consumers, traditional companies aren’t hesitating to increase the cost of cable and squeeze a few more dollars from their customers — while they still have them.

Comcast is planning to increase its broadcast channel fee by $2 per month and its regional sports network fee by an average of $1.50, reported Bloomberg. DirecTV and Dish are raising their prices for English-language video packages by $3-$8 per month and $3-$5 per month, respectively. DirecTV fees for regional sports networks in most markets will also increase by $1-$1.90.

Representatives from these cable and pay-TV providers justified rate hikes due to rising sports programming and broadcast TV costs, which are being passed on to their customers. However, the cost of Hulu is currently $39.99 per month for a basic plan with live TV — a far cry from the average cable bill that exceeds $100 per month. If the cost of cable continues to inflate, streaming services like Hulu might witness another record-breaking year for subscriber growth in 2019.

Click through to read about costs other than cable that you can cut to keep more of your money.

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