Hulu, the video site owned by big media companies, seems to always be going through a transition phase: Sometimes the big media guys love it. Other times they want to sell it — and then change their mind.
Now Hulu looks like it is headed for another change: If the Disney-Fox deal goes through, Disney will own a two-thirds stake in the business, and Disney CEO Bob Iger says Hulu will play a big role in his company’s future. (Though some industry observers think Comcast*, which owns a third of Hulu, will end up controlling it, perhaps because regulators will force Disney to sell it, and/or because it will be more important to Comcast’s digital plans than Disney’s.)
Anyway. How’s Hulu doing for now? Hard to tell: The company used to provide quarterly updates under former CEO Jason Kilar, but stopped doing that a while ago.
Today, though, it is showing a bit more leg: The company says it has 17 million subscribers, up from 12 million in 2016.
Make that a tiny bit of leg, because that stat comes with two big caveats:
- Hulu’s 2017 number includes both its core subscription service, which costs between $8 and $12 a month, depending on whether you want to watch commercials along with “The Handmaid’s Tale” and reruns of “This Is Us” and its Hulu Live pay TV service, which launched last May and costs $40 a month. Hulu hasn’t released numbers on that one before, but industry estimates pegged its subscriber totals at around 300,000 last fall.
- Also note that the company’s last disclosure was in May 2016, so that five million bump presumably took something like 1.5 years.
So this chart is useful, but also misleading. Enjoy it with chunks of salt.
Context: Netflix told Wall Street it expects to add at least 4.6 million domestic subscribers in 2017, which would give it some 52 million subs in the U.S.
* Comcast is a minority investor in Vox Media, which owns this site.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.