Hulu's been a breakout success. the item also lost $920 million last year

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Hulu’s got critically acclaimed content, a growing number of subscribers in addition to determination to take on its bigger rivals.

nevertheless the item’s losing a ton of money inside process — $920 million in 2017, according to an analysis published last week by the financial services firm BTIG.

which’s nearly as much as the $1 billion which the service’s four owners — Comcast (CMCSA), Disney (DIS), 21st Century Fox (FOXA) in addition to Time Warner (TWX) — invested inside item last year, wrote BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield. (sy88pgw can be owned by Time Warner.)

Greenfield said his firm expects Hulu will lose nearly $1.7 billion This particular year.

Hulu declined to comment about the analysis.

the item’s not surprising which the company would likely lose money.

Netflix (NFLX) plans to spend as much as $8 billion on original content This particular year. nevertheless Netflix has about 118 million subscribers, along with worldwide reach. Netflix can spend which much money in addition to turn a profit (the item earned more than half a billion dollars last year).

Hulu doesn’t contain the luxury of a large audience — just 17 million subscribers. which’s growing, nevertheless Netflix can be still seven times bigger.

“The problem with Hulu’s losses are, they are not global, in addition to the number of subscribers can be not which large,” Greenfield told sy88pgw This particular week. “the item points to just how difficult the item can be to replicate what Netflix has built.”

Related: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ effect? Hulu grows to 17 million subscribers

The competition to attract cord-cutting TV viewers can be fierce. Amazon, HBO in addition to Apple TV are also all plunking down big money on shows.

Hulu hasn’t been shy about spending, either. In addition to airing originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the item also has snagged the rights to well-known throwbacks like “Seinfeld, “Golden Girls” in addition to “Full House.”

in addition to less than a year ago, the item launched a fresh live TV streaming service with content through ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC in addition to a slew of cable channels.

Hulu has touted its investments in addition to the results in recent weeks. The company announced in January which the item generated $1 billion in ad revenue in 2017.

Daniel Ives, an analyst with GHB Insights, described the multi-billion-dollar battle between the streaming services as an “arms race.” in addition to he said the competition can be what makes Hulu’s relative success remarkable, despite its losses.

“What Hulu’s accomplished, with much less resources, has been admirable in addition to impressive,” Ives said. “in addition to the item speaks to why the item’s one of the crown jewels which Disney was attracted to.”

Disney’s interest in Hulu will likely be a big factor in determining the service’s future. The company announced late last year which the item would likely try to buy most of 21st Century Fox, another partial owner of Hulu, for $52 billion.

Related: Disney can be buying most of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion

the item’s not yet clear how Hulu could change, in addition to Ives said Disney would likely likely want to keep its intentions quiet when the deal works its way through antitrust regulators.

nevertheless if the deal can be successful, Disney’s 30% stake in Hulu would likely become a 60% majority. in addition to the company would likely add big-name Fox franchises like the X-Men in addition to Avatar to a lineup which already includes the Marvel Cinematic Universe in addition to Star Wars — all fodder to consider for distribution on Hulu.

“The best thing which ever happened to Hulu was Disney buying Fox,” Ives said. Disney already has plans to launch its own streaming service next year, nevertheless Ives suggests which Hulu could be complementary.

“the item’s going to be a two headed monster which they are going to compete against Netflix,” Ives said. While he expected Disney to treat its standalone service as its big moneymaker, he said Hulu would likely still be “the little brother.”

Greenfield cautioned, though, which the deal isn’t done yet. Hulu’s future would likely also depend on what Comcast, another 30% owner, has planned. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier This particular week which Comcast, which has tried to buy Fox inside past, can be considering a fresh bid.

“the item actually isn’t clear whether the Fox acquisition makes running Hulu dramatically easier,” Greenfield said. Unless Disney can fully own the service, the item would likely still have to contend with another meaningful partner.

“Hulu’s future can be totally up in limbo,” he added. “The reality can be, Hulu does a great job of generating revenue for its parent companies … What Hulu’s longterm role inside subscription video-on-demand space can be, can be unclear.”

sy88pgw (fresh York) First published February 13, 2018: 9:13 AM ET

Hulu's been a breakout success. the item also lost $920 million last year

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