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When it comes to streaming services, one would have to be watching linear television under a rock to not know that Netflix is the cream of the binge-worthy crop. It dominates all other streaming outlets in terms of total subscriber base, the number of original programs it has, the amount of money put into original programming, and other factors. Competitor Hulu is a particularly noteworthy underdog, though, because despite having millions fewer customers than Netflix on the whole, the subscriber base it does have manages to nearly match Netflix's customers in terms of average viewing hours. Which. Is. Bananas.
So here's how that seemingly lopsided math, which also isn't exactly official, works out. According to the roundabout analytics firm ComScore, which measured Over-The-Top streaming services using WiFi within households for the month of December 2016, Netflix is in wide use in over 40% of homes with WiFi, while Hulu is down below 10%. For more concrete numbers, Netflix's U.S. subscriber base is right around 50 million people, whereas Hulu's is north of 12 million. So the younger company is basically running with about 25% of Netflix's customer population, which is obviously a disadvantage. But it doesn't quite look that way.
Because when ComScore measured how many TV streaming hours each service's customers were racking up, Netflix was of course leading the pack with an average of around 27 streaming hours a month per household. Hulu, meanwhile, was stunningly right behind that total, with its households averaging right around 26 hours a month. So despite almost 40 million fewer customers than Netflix, Hulu can brag to the cosmos about how long it can keep its customers glued to its programming. It's mind-boggling.
The reasoning behind this particular quadrant of success is less mind-boggling, though, since Hulu was built first as a quasi-substitution for DVR through which people could catch up on primetime shows without watching live. And even though Netflix and other services have altered the plethora of network and cable series that shows up on a daily basis, Hulu is easily anyone's best bet for quick catch-ups. (Something that'll be made even better once its live TV service begins in earnest.)
For a quick comparison, the second runner-up to Netflix in terms of household impact is YouTube, which was used in around 28% of homes, while Amazon was next at around 17%. Neither one of them was anywhere near Hulu, though, with YouTube users putting about 16 hours of streaming in a month, while Amazon subscribers kept it down to around 13 hours a month. And again, these numbers aren't exact or official, but they're indicative and not so far off base that they should be dismissed. Hulu deserves the boost.
With powerful dramas like The Path and Chance putting Hulu on the map in terms of original programming, it's only a matter of time before that part of its library is as big as its acquired library. And then we can live carefree lives like the Hot Wives.