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Web TV service Hulu books $695 million in annual revenue

By Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) - Hulu, the privately held Internet streaming TV service, will generate about $695 million in revenue in 2012 and finish the year with more than 3 million paying subscribers, the company's CEO said on Monday.

The company's revenue increased 65 percent from 2011, Chief Executive Jason Kilar said in a blog post on the company's website. Subscribers to its paid service, Hulu Plus, doubled from a year ago to 3 million. Hulu Plus costs $7.99 a month, the same price as the Internet streaming service offered by its biggest rival, Netflix.

The company said it invested more than $500 million in content in 2012 and now offers 50,000 hours of video. It also said it has more than 1,000 advertisers. The company said it tripled its paying subscribers for its TV service in Japan without providing specifics.

"We are closing on a big 2012," Kilar said.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the company was profitable.

Hulu is owned by media companies Walt Disney Co, News Corp and Comcast NBC Universal. Private equity firm Providence Equity Partners said in October it had sold its 10 percent stake.

Hulu started five years ago primarily as a free site for users to catch up with many of their favorite shows on broadcast television. It is now building its own library of original content in a bid to stand out from competitors such as Netflix Inc and to attract advertising dollars. Netflix, the current leader in Internet movie and TV streaming, said it had 25.1 million U.S. subscribers at the end of September.

Hulu put itself up for sale in 2011, with suitors including Google Inc, Amazon.com Inc, DirecTV Group Inc and Dish Network Corp, Reuters reported at the time. But the talks collapsed over the price of the deal.

(Reporting By Liana B. Baker; editing by Andrew Hay)

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