Once the underdog of the online streaming world, Hulu was going head-to-head with Netflix and Amazon by 2016, thanks to a beefed-up original programming slate that included popular shows such as Casual and Difficult People. Although the L.A.-based company still lags behind in subscriber numbers—it has 12 million—it is repositioning itself as not just as a place to watch cool, new shows, and beloved older ones, such as The Mindy Project, but to watch television in general. In early 2017, Hulu plans to launch a new live TV streaming service that includes channels such as CBS, CNN, TBS, ABC, ESPN, FX, and the Disney Channel, courtesy of Hulu owners Disney, 21st Century Fox, and Time Warner, which took a 10% stake in 2016. (Comcast is also an owner.) The move makes Hulu an even more tantalizing offering for cord cutters who no longer want to pay for expensive cable bundles.
Hulu has been adept at knowing when to pivot and when to be persistent. In 2013, the company was briefly put up for sale after disagreement amongst its owners over how to grow the company. But after a strong rebranding push (it got rid of its free, ad-supported business in 2016) and investment in original content, Hulu is poised to become one of the most compelling streaming services around.