Hulu Enters Pay-TV Race with Launch of Live TV Service

by Cate Lecuyer Marian  |  05.03.2017

With the launch of Hulu with Live TV, the streaming provider has officially entered the pay-TV market.

For $39.99 per month, the service, currently in beta, offers about 50 channels across broadcast and cable networks as well as content currently available as part of the company’s $7.99 per month streaming package.

The channels on Hulu with Live TV include the four major broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC—although local stations will vary depending on location.

Cable networks include: ESPN, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Sports, MSNBC, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, TNT, Bravo, E!, A&E, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Disney Channel, Freeform, FX, History, Lifetime, National Geographic, TBS, USA Network, and Viceland.

Hulu also inked a distribution deal with Scripps Networks Interactive to bring HGTV, Travel Channel and Food Network to the new live service and existing SVOD service. It will also carry regional sports networks from Comcast and Fox, and Showtime for an additional $9.

The company touts Hulu with Live TV as a customizable service, with the ability to follow sports teams and have Hulu surface and record the games live. It also offers a “Kids Mode” that displays children’s’ shows without having to search or browse the rest of the programming.

Variety points out that missing from the live TV menu are HBO; AMC Networks; Viacom’s Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV; and Starz and Discovery Communications channels.

Also, Hulu won’t offer all four major broadcast networks everywhere. Local ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC stations are available only in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Chicago. Hulu has said it’s working to add more local channels over time, as well as premium network add-ons.

The move pits Hulu against other online pay-TV services including Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Google’s YouTube TV.

The company revealed the launch of Hulu with Live TV at its upfront presentation Wednesday in New York City, while also announcing that The Handmaid’s Tale has been renewed for a second season, to air in 2018.

“The response we’ve seen to The Handmaid’s Tale in just one week since its premiere has been absolutely incredible,” Hulu Head of Content Craig Erwich said in a statement. “It has been an honor to work with this talented team of cast and creators to develop a series that has struck such a chord with audiences across the country.”

In addition, Hulu locked down streaming rights to Fox’s Atlanta, and will become the exclusive subscription streaming home for NBC’s This is Us in a landmark SVOD deal.

Outbidding both Netflix and Amazon, Hulu and NBC will share stacking rights to the series, with viewers being able to watch current and past seasons on both the streaming service as well as the network’s apps and platform.

“This groundbreaking deal offers unprecedented access to consumers on multiple platforms, from Hulu to the apps of our network partner NBC, creating opportunity for viewers to find, catch up and experience again every incredible episode,” said Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman in a statement. “It’s an exciting deal which is a ‘win’ for all our companies but for fans of this fantastic television show most of all.”

READ MORE: Hollywood Reporter

Hulu also added two new series to its slate of original programming: coming of age action series Marvel’s Runaways, its first series order with Marvel Television set to premiere in the winter; and The First, a drama about the first human mission to Mars from House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, slated for 2018.

“We have always believed that TV should fit your lifestyle, not the other way around,” Hulu SVP and Head of Experience Ben Smith said in a statement. “You shouldn’t have to think about whether something is live, recorded or on demand, or care about which device you’re using. TV is about connecting with the shows, movies and sports you love – and we want to make that really easy for you, no matter where you’re watching.”

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