Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale debuts on Hulu today, but in addition to pleasing fans of the dystopian series, Handmaid's also marks major turning point in the history of the streaming service.
According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, the series, based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel of the same name, helped the company reach its highest growth in the last 10 years since its inception in 2007. In conjunction with Hulu's Live TV service, The Handmaid's Tale has nabbed nearly 20 million subscribers, an 18 percent increase in just four months.
"I'm not a surfer," Hulu CEO Randy Freer, 57 told THR while disucssing his approach for the company since taking over from Mike Hopkins last fall. "But you want to ride that wave for as long as you can."
When compared to other streaming competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which have 125 million and 100 million subscribers respectively, Hulu's own accomplishments might seem feeble. However, it must be noted that the company only exists in North America at the moment whereas Netflix and Amazon have become international (for the sake of comparison, Netflix has around 56.7 million North American subscribers).
Once Hulu makes the decision to expand to other countries, it could begin to close the subscription gap between itself and its competition. For now, however, 20 million people tuning in for original programming like Handmaid's, The Path, and 11.22.63 is not something to shake a stick at. Plus, you've got all the movies and TV shows available on the service, many of which become available immediately after they air on television. To further the comparison to Netflix, Hulu entered the Marvel game with its adaptation of the teenage super-tale Runaways, which was well-received and already renewed for a second season.
If you need further proof that Hulu is becoming a streaming force to be reckoned with, just look at all the awards Handmaid's won during this past awards season. The show picked up prizes at a number of prestigious ceremonies, including the Emmys and Golden Globes. More recently, it won a Peabody Award for achievement in entertainment storytelling.