Hulu Plus Subscriptions Top 4 Million

Eriq Gardner
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Before ad buyers in New York, Hulu has brought news that the number of people who pay to subscribe to the online video site has doubled in the past year to 4 million.

The growth is being touted at the company's NewFront presentation, an upfront-style event. Hulu is one of many leading digital media companies participating in an IAB-sponsored week of festivities meant to draw ad dollars online.

Those who paid for the $8-per-month Hulu Plus service still have to watch commercials. But that hasn't been a drag on the company's subscriber base.

Perhaps more concerning for the company is some structural uncertainty as two of its three owners -- News Corp and Disney -- have been flirting with a sale. Hulu also lost its founding chief executive Jason Kilar earlier this year. He was replaced by Andy Forssell.

Hulu has managed to grow by giving consumers digital access to popular broadcast shows. An attempt to develop an independent identity with original programming has been less successful. Hulu doesn't have a House of Cards like Netflix does, or even a Burning Love, like Yahoo does. The site has been struggling to find a breakout hit, introducing series like Morgan Spurlock's A Day In The Life, Battleground, and Richard Linklater's Up to Speed.

Executives have high hopes for The Awesomes, a superhero show from Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers. Also coming soon is Mother Up, an animated series featuring ex-Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria as well as The Wrong Mans from James Corden about two lowly office workers caught up in a deadly criminal conspiracy.  And Hulu will be one of the main places to watch the digital resurrection of soaps All My Children and One Life to Live.

At the NewFront, Hulu is also announcing Money Where Your Mouth Is, a game show featuring Jay Mohr and produced by the Believe Entertainment Group.

Meyers was on hand at the event at Gotham Hall.

Introducing the presentation, Meyers said, "Welcome to the Soylent Green waiting room! If you get that joke, you are not in the demo."