Hulu Planning Live Cable TV Service With Partners Including Disney and Fox

Hulu-iconStreaming service Hulu is said to be working on a new subscription model that would provide customers with cable-style access to popular broadcast television networks.

In a report by The Wall Street Journal, sources close to the plan said the company's move would directly introduce Hulu as "a competitor to traditional pay-TV providers," in addition to streaming-only services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Hulu's current launch estimate for the cable-like service is sometime early in 2017, and a few partners are already mentioning interest in the program. Disney and Fox are said to be close to signing agreements to provide "many of their channels" to Hulu and its subscribers on the live platform. Some of their networks include ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Fox's basic broadcast channels, Fox News, and FX.

The company's ultimate goal with the new service may disappoint cord-cutters looking for a complete replacement for their cable box, as those close to Hulu's plans mentioned it "isn’t looking to offer all the hundreds of channels found in the traditional cable bundle." Still, Hulu is seeking other partners in addition to Disney and Fox, who are both co-owners of Hulu.

Hulu sees an opportunity to pitch its planned service to the more than 10 million people who already subscribe to its on-demand service. Consumers don’t need to be an existing Hulu subscriber to sign up for the new service, which has yet to be named.

In addition to live TV, the unnamed service is rumored to provide users with a cloud-based DVR, letting them record shows and set scheduled tapings similar to current offerings by cable providers. Due to all of these prime features, the current estimated cost of Hulu's live TV plan would be $40 per month, according to Sanford C. Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger. That price was said to be "in the ballpark" by a Hulu executive.

Netflix can be relatively quick in getting up full seasons of recently-aired shows after their finales launch, but it largely depends on the cable network and even then it can be a few weeks to months until they're available on the streaming platform. Hulu has always been ahead of its rivals in providing users access to recently aired TV episodes, launching them one at a time a day after they air, but its new plan would go one step further and let subscribers watch specific TV channels live.

As more customers leave behind cable companies, streaming services are becoming increasingly interested in standalone TV packages such as the one Hulu is looking into launching. Premium channels like Showtime and HBO already have their own specific services, and Apple was even attempting to get a similar $30-$40 web-based TV package launched last year, but failed deals with networks caused the company to put its plans on hold.

Tag: Hulu

Top Rated Comments

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59 months ago
I still don't understand why people want live tv (other than sports?). Just give me everything, on demand, streaming, at all times. I don't need a cloud DVR, that's just something else to manage. I am tired of "thinking" about TV. Let me add shows I like to a watchlist accessible on all devices with badges when a new show is available. Seems simple to me? What Hulu is doing now is almost there.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
59 months ago
oh so cable :P

I actually like the "on-demand" style of netflix, hbo now, etc. Isn't live TV a step backwards? It is cable, just not from the cable company.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
59 months ago
So, why would I want Live again? So I can go back to watching commercials? No thanks.

That is obviously the entire motivator behind this. With exception of sports, which I already pay for through a separate App, there is no such thing as "Live" TV. Just "the first time this has ever aired" TV.

I can wait until the next day to watch it, when I'm ready to watch it, and without any commercials.

Hulu, this is a fail before it even gets off the ground.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
59 months ago
At first I thought, why would anyone pay almost 3x or 4x more than the current Hulu offering just for access to live shows, when almost all those same shows are available a day after they initially air on Hulu?

Then I got worried that this might mean the less expensive plan is going away, or will be significantly changed. I really hope it isn't. The $13/month for commercial-free Hulu is great!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
59 months ago
Once again, as long as cable companies also control your broadband Internet access, this is a non-starter. With Comcast now moving to a metered model and also making Internet access more expensive if you don't also take their cable package, Hulu's proposal would be more costly in the end.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
59 months ago

Once again, as long as cable companies also control your broadband Internet access, this is a non-starter. With Comcast now moving to a metered model and also making Internet access more expensive if you don't also take their cable package, Hulu's proposal would be more costly in the end.

So in the end.

-Streaming stations will be bundled and cost the same as cable
-There will be the added cost for internet access
-And the users will at the mercy of which ever 'streaming' site you sign up with.

How is this better?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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