Hulu is developing its own service that will provide cable-like streaming content online. According to The Wall Street Journal, the plan will have Hulu offer both live and on-demand content on a new web-subscription service.
The content would be Disney and Fox owned channels such as ABC, ESPN, Fox, and FX. The service is expected to additionally include a cloud-based digital video recorder. This will allow for watching on demand shows that have previously aired. The plan is for the service to be running by early 2017 and is expected to cost around $40 a month.
The service is similar to the web TV packages that several companies have begun to sell. Dish’s Sling TV and Sony’s Playstation Vue both offer similar bundles for $20 and $30 a month, respectively. The smaller bundles are designed for those who have never paid for large television subscriptions, mainly millennials. The idea behind it is for consumers to create their own pay TV package that fits what they want to watch as opposed to the large, multipurpose bundles that have traditionally been offered. Hulu will be the first service to allow the networks themselves to sell the bundles, rather than the cable companies.
Disney and 20th Century Fox are working with Hulu to make a deal to license their channels. The web bundle would allow them to sell their own content directly online without the middle man of network or cable providers. The new service is part of a growing trend among networks who are beginning to work around traditional cable providers. For example, HBO announced they would be using the web to sell themselves directly without cable providers.
Disney and Fox are two of the three co-owners of Hulu. Comcast owns a third of the streaming platform through its ownership of NBC Universal. However, Disney and Fox have full control over Hulu’s management. Comcast is unable to vote on decisions for Hulu until 2018 due to a deal they made when they were purchasing NBC Universal. Comcast currently has not agreed to a deal over licensing any of its content on the new service.