Empire is an unprecedented ratings juggernaut. It's the only show in at least 23 years (since Nielsen began tracking) to grow its audience every single week, every single episode. Early ratings for last night's finale reveal that over 16.5 million people watched it live. That's 7 million more viewers than its closest competitor, CBS's Survivor.
Point is, Empire is a Really Big Deal — and now a huge win for Hulu. The streaming company today announced that it has grabbed exclusive streaming rights "for all past and future episodes." The entire first season is currently available for Hulu Plus users, and future episodes will continue to debut on the service the day after it airs on Fox.
To be fair, Hulu is a joint venture among broadcasters, and Empire's network Fox owns a substantial chunk of the company. But while Hulu would presumably have a natural advantage over competitors like Netflix and Amazon, the fight over streaming rights has been especially heated and pricey as of late. This past summer, Netflix picked up The Blacklist for a reported $2 million per episode, and it secured exclusive streaming rights to Gotham before the show even premiered.