Hulu Stock: Is an IPO on the Horizon?

Written By Mike Munno

Updated November 8, 2023

Could Netflix’s latest changes create an opening for a Hulu stock IPO? Hulu, the streaming giant, is making waves in the entertainment industry. With a revenue of $10.7 billion in 2022 and a subscriber base of over 41 million, Hulu has firmly established itself as a major player in the world of streaming. 

But what about Hulu stock? Is an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the cards? Let's delve into the dynamics surrounding Hulu, its competition with Netflix, and the potential for an IPO.

The streaming industry, with its rapid growth and continuous innovations, is a dynamic arena. Hulu's position within this landscape is particularly noteworthy. 

As it competes with established giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Hulu has successfully carved out a unique space by offering a blend of on-demand content, live television, and sports.

This diverse approach to content and monetization is essential in an industry that's constantly evolving. Today, we're going to discuss the potential reality of Hulu stock hitting Wall Street. 

Hulu stock

Before we discuss when you will be able to buy Hulu stock, we must set the context. It all starts with the streaming industry's biggest rivalry: Hulu Vs. Netflix.

Hulu Stock Vs. Netflix Stock: A Long-Awaited Wall Street Showdown

One cannot discuss the streaming industry without considering the ongoing competition between Hulu and Netflix. 

The rivalry between Hulu and Netflix dates back to the early days of streaming. Hulu was officially launched in 2008, initially as a free service with ad-supported content. In contrast, Netflix had been in the game since 1997, primarily focusing on DVD rentals before transitioning to online streaming.

Over the years, both services evolved, expanding their content libraries and subscriber bases. Hulu, in particular, strategically distinguished itself by offering current episodes of popular TV shows shortly after airing to catch up on recent content.

The competition between the two intensified as they started creating their original content. Netflix's "House of Cards" and Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" are examples of their successful early forays into original programming. This content creation race has benefited viewers with a rich variety of shows and movies.

While Netflix has long been the dominant player, Hulu has been gaining ground. 

Netflix's recent decisions to introduce advertisements and raise subscription prices have created opportunities for Hulu to capture a larger market share.

Hulu, which offers a range of subscription plans including ad-supported and ad-free options, also generates revenue through advertising. The service tailors ads to viewers' interests and behaviors, making it an attractive platform for advertisers.

Moreover, Hulu has the Hulu Ad Manager, enabling businesses to efficiently manage and track their advertising campaigns. Netflix vowed to never run ads, but as of October 2023, plans have changed. The switch to include ad-based plans could prove to be detrimental. While Hulu has always been transparent about its ad plans, Netflix went on record many times saying they would never have ads. Now look at them… 

In January 2023, Hulu further strengthened its position by announcing a multi-year content partnership with Fox Entertainment. This partnership secured the rights to Fox's extensive library of shows. It also involved extensive cross-promotion of the Hulu brand across Fox-owned marketing channels. 

This is a huge win for Hulu, but could also further complicate any IPO plans.

Hulu's Impressive Growth

In 2022, Hulu reported impressive financials, with a revenue of $10.7 billion, representing an 11.4% increase from the previous year. 

The company's user base also continued to grow, with over 41 million subscribers. A notable portion of these subscribers, approximately 4.1 million, opt for Hulu's Live TV services.

So how does Hulu manage to grow so substantially? 

Hulu, a subscription-based streaming service, offers TV shows, movies, original programming, live television, and sports content. Here are some key aspects of Hulu's business model:

Subscription Plans: Hulu offers a variety of subscription plans to cater to different consumer preferences. These include ad-supported plans, ad-free plans, and Hulu + Live TV, which includes live television channels and cloud-based DVR capabilities.

Ad-Supported Revenue: One distinctive feature of Hulu's business model is its ad-supported plans. This means that some users can access Hulu's content for a lower monthly fee but have to watch advertisements during their streaming experience. Advertisers pay Hulu to showcase their ads to a targeted audience, based on user behavior and interests.

Content Partnerships: Hulu secures content through partnerships and licensing agreements with major studios and networks, including Fox, ABC, NBC, and others. This allows Hulu to provide a wide range of content, including current episodes of popular TV shows shortly after they air.

Original Content: Similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Hulu invests in creating original content, which helps differentiate its service from competitors. Shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Castle Rock" are examples of Hulu's successful original programming.

Live TV and Sports: Hulu + Live TV offers a selection of live television channels, making it a comprehensive entertainment platform for sports, news, and live events. This feature caters to users who want the convenience of streaming live content.

Ad Manager for Businesses: Hulu offers an advertising platform called "Hulu Ad Manager" that allows businesses to create, manage, and track advertising campaigns on the platform. This feature helps advertisers effectively target their desired audience.

Content Partnerships: Hulu's multi-year content partnerships, such as the one with Fox Entertainment, are crucial for securing a diverse range of content, attracting viewers, and generating advertising revenue.

User Experience: Hulu focuses on providing a user-friendly experience, allowing subscribers to personalize their content preferences and create profiles for family members. This enhances the user experience and encourages subscriber retention.

Market Expansion: While Hulu initially served the United States, it has been gradually expanding its reach to international markets, further increasing its potential user base.

Data-Driven Approach: Hulu leverages data analytics to understand user behavior and preferences. This allows for more precise content recommendations and targeted advertising, enhancing the overall user experience and revenue generation.

By tailoring its approach to various consumer preferences, Hulu has positioned itself as a significant player in the streaming industry and continues to compete with industry leaders like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

A Potential Hulu Stock IPO? 

Hulu holds ~18% of the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market share, making it the second-largest company, only trailing behind Netflix. This market share, combined with its impressive revenue figures, makes Hulu a formidable contender in the streaming industry.

There were rumors of a Hulu IPO in 2010 when a report revealed that the company was planning one. The report valued the Hulu IPO at $2 billion. While Hulu did not go public in 2010, it accomplished other feats. In March 2019 though, Disney acquired 60% of Hulu, gaining the majority of the shares held. 

Given Hulu's financial strength, user base, and its position as a significant player in the streaming landscape, an IPO could be a viable option. However, the decision to go public is a complex one, influenced by various factors, namely Disney and Comcast's motives.

It's important to remember that Hulu is co-owned by Disney and Comcast, with Disney holding a controlling stake. These conglomerates would have a significant say in the decision to take Hulu public. In fact, they're probably Hulu's biggest hurdle to become it's own stock.  

While no official announcements have been made regarding an IPO since 2010, the streaming industry's growth and Hulu's increasing relevance make it an attractive prospect for investors.

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Should Hulu decide to go public, the move could have significant implications for both the company and the streaming industry as a whole.

  1. Capital Injection: An IPO would provide Hulu with a fresh injection of capital to invest in content creation, technological advancements, and global expansion. This could help the service stay competitive in an ever-expanding streaming universe.
  2. Enhanced Visibility: Going public would put Hulu in the public eye, potentially attracting a larger subscriber base and increasing its brand recognition.
  3. Increased Scrutiny: An IPO means heightened transparency and scrutiny. Hulu would need to maintain strong financial performance and meet the expectations of shareholders.
  4. Competitive Dynamics: An IPO might enable Hulu to further challenge Netflix and other streaming giants. It could intensify the competition in the streaming market, ultimately benefiting consumers with more choices and content.

Hulu Stock and the Road Ahead

Will we be able to buy Hulu stock soon? It’s very possible. In the ever-evolving streaming industry, the potential for an IPO remains an exciting prospect for Hulu. The company's financial performance and strong market position make it an attractive candidate for investors. 

However, the decision ultimately rests with Disney and Comcast.

As streaming services continue to shape the way we consume entertainment, it will be fascinating to see how Hulu's journey unfolds. Whether it goes public or continues to thrive under its current ownership, Hulu's impact on the streaming landscape is undeniable.

We at Wealth Daily will be keeping a close eye on Hulu as it navigates the competitive streaming waters and explores the possibility of going public. 

The future of Hulu stock and the streaming industry, in general, promises to be an exciting ride. Right now, if you want to invest in Hulu you would have to buy Disney (NYSE DIS) stock. Depending on your politics (and DIS's recent performance), you may want to reconsider. 

You could also gain exposure to Hulu by purchasing shares of Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq CMCSA). CMSCA is up 27.39% YTD (at the time of writing) compared to DIS -1.08%. 

DIS and CMCSA Stock Hulu Stock Chart

If you’re looking for more companies that are in a similar position to Hulu stock, then you want to keep an eye on OnlyFans stock. They operate a little differently than Hulu, but an IPO is highly anticipated. 

An OnlyFans IPO could be even more lucrative than a Hulu stock IPO. But that is the beauty of the market, there are SO many opportunities

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