– Will Stream Live Linear TV
-And Compete with Pay TV, OTT and Antenna TV
-YouTube’s Working on a Similar Streaming Live TV Product
Hulu could be coming for the broadcasters’ dollars as word has been spreading that it is developing a live Internet TV service.
And streamers like Netflix and Amazon are also poised to face Hulu’s wrath since the company is “focusing on Millennials and cord cutters” for its live TV bundles, according to Hulu SVP and head of distribution and partnerships Tim Connolly, speaking at Hulu’s recent NewFronts presentation.
Cleaning up: Hulu will use shows like Casual in packages to compete with pay TV
Hulu is well established as one of the leading OTT SVoD streaming services in the market and now the company is reportedly expanding its business to live TV.
The online TV service from Hulu would stream live feeds of linear broadcast and pay TV channels and might even offer a cloud-based DVR feature, according to reports from Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the plans”.
Hulu is jointly owned by 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Company and Comcast’s NBCUniversal, all three of which have suffered audience losses over the last few years as viewers move away from traditional TV.
The report from the Wall Street Journal indicates that 21st Century Fox and Disney are close to making agreements to license many of their channels for Hulu’s newest platform so channels like Disney’s ABC, ESPN and Disney Channel and Fox’s Fox News, FX and its national and regional sports channels are expected to be available on the service.
Securing local programming deals with numerous individual station group owners covering the 210 markets in the US will be costly and complicated but Connolly expressed that local TV channels will be key to Hulu’s live TV offering as live local news and sports will give the offering maximum appeal to potential subscribers.
NBCUniversal also has a stake in ownership of Hulu but it is a silent partner due to conditions of Comcast’s NBCUniversal acquisition. Variety has reported that NBCUniversal is also in the early stages of negotiating a deal to license its channels to Hulu’s planned service. Some of those channels include Bravo, E!, MSNBC, CNBC and USA.
give its broadcast owners a new platform for distributing their programming. Hulu has nearly 12 million subscribers to its current OTT subscription on-demand service to which it can pitch a new Web TV service to. An Internet TV and SVoD streaming service from Hulu could be a cord cutter’s dream. “Customers will have the option to buy Hulu’s live TV product as a standalone service, or bundled with the SVoD service,” said Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins.
Coming from the people who know a thing or two about TV – Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and NBCUniversal who are making and selling programming to pay TV distributors (such as Comcast), an Internet TV service could have great success. The service curators know what programming people want to see and are able to produce exclusive content catering to specific audiences for the service.
Weeding Out The Middle Men
By creating a Web TV service Hulu could potentially reach more audiences eager to receive live programming without the cords and costs of a pay TV subscription. However, at the same time Disney, Fox and NCBUniversal’s Hulu will directly compete with their most important customers – the pay TV distributors.
The live Web TV platform means consumers can surpass the traditional pay TV distributors to access network TV that would normally only be accessible via pay TV service. At the core of the pay TV business are the networks it gets its programming from. But the networks are turning against the traditional pay TV market and luring pay TV subscribers and cord cutters alike away from traditional TV; a telling sign of the current volatility of the TV business.
Other companies are already offering pay TV options…
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