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Hulu added twice as many U.S. subscribers in 2019 as Netflix did in its first quarter, according to Hulu's newly announced subscriber numbers.
Hulu now has a total U.S. customer base exceeding 28 million subscribers, up from the 25 million it claimed in January, the company announced in a presentation to advertisers in New York on Wednesday. Of the 28 million, 26.8 million of those subscribers pay for the service, while 1.3 million hold promotional accounts, the company said.
While Hulu's subscriber base remains much smaller compared with Netflix's, which claims 60.2 million domestic subscribers, its U.S. growth is now outpacing the streaming giant's. In 2018, Hulu had 23 million paid subscribers, according to data shared at Disney's investor day. (Disney owns a 60% stake in Hulu). That marks a roughly 3.8 million increase in paid domestic subscribers alone this year. Netflix, by comparison, reported 1.74 million net domestic paid subscriber additions in its Q1 2019 earnings report last month.
Hulu's subscriber numbers could be propped up by its recent promotions and price drop compared with Netflix's hike. Beginning in February, Hulu lowered its price of its most popular plan from $7.99 to $5.99 per month. Hulu's announcement came one week after Netflix said it would raise the price of its most popular plan from $10.99 to $12.99 per month.
Hulu's lower price could mean that subscribers are adding it onto their Netflix subscriptions, as some analysts suggested could be the case for Disney's new streaming offering aimed at children and families. Netflix's cheapest offering still costs more than Hulu's standard plan at $8.99 per month.
Hulu also could have grown subscriber numbers through its promotion with Spotify, which allows customers to sign up for a joint plan at $12.99 per month, providing them access to both services at a discounted rate.
Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.