Popular net streaming service Hulu announced November 1st that it finalized deals to include programming from Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox to its new TV streaming service that is scheduled to debut early next year.
Financial details were not made public. Hulu disclosed that more than 35 leading networks are part of the deals, which means that the net video service now has live and on-demand content from 21st Century Fox’s news and sports channels, ABC and Fox broadcast networks, as well as Disney’s Disney Channel and ESPN, ESPN2, and a host of other ESPN channels.
ESPN in particular is a notable addition given the highly competitive space which includes a number of other equally impressive net services including Play Station Vue, Sling TV, and Direct TV Now, AT&T’s soon to launch net service.
Sling TV got priceless mileage over its rivals when it was the first to provide ESPN’s content without subscription to a cable TV service. With time, however, this has changed as other services have added ESPN channels.
It would appear that these net streaming services will end up competing for channels and content but that is not the case. Instead, services are likely to be wooing viewers based on other factors such as pricing, platform support, user experience, and concurrent streaming support.
In August, Hulu announced the inclusion of networks from the Time Warner company including CNN, TNT, and TBS.
In a statement released to the press, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins noted “We’re building a service that offers subscribers the most sought-after programming on television — and channels from 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are essential to that mix…”. “With these two new deals in place, and additional partners to come, Hulu will soon give TV fans of all ages live and on-demand access to their favorite programs in a whole new, more flexible, highly personalized way.”
Time Warner bought a 10% stake in Hulu for $583 million, joining 21st Century Fox, Comcast, and the Walt Disney Company, each of which owns 30% of the net streaming service.
Among additions to the new streaming service are Comcast’s NBC networks as well as other NBC Universal channels such as USA and Bravo, among others. Hulu continues to seek partnerships with other top content companies to add channels on their service.
Since 2008, Hulu has been offering on-demand video online. The company ceased offering free content and introduced two paid monthly subscriptions in August: $7.99 and $11.99, with the former including limited advertising while the latter has no advertising.
Hulu’s current library includes popular TV series such as South Park and Seinfield, and movies such as James Bond films, The Hunger Games, and many more. The net service also has its own original series such as Casual and The Mindy Project, which was acquired from Fox when it was cancelled.
Hulu’s new deals with Fox and Disney give consumers a varied selection of TV channels to select from.
Hulu has a simple interface that’s easy to browse although it is no where near that of Netflix, which is miles ahead in terms of design and ease of use. Netflix is the best because it offers best designs and is also very ease to use.
Changing TV landscape
Among other things, Hulu’s deals with two big TV companies show just how much the TV landscape has changed over the past few years (and bound to change forever).
Just a few years ago, big TV company’s such as Disney and Fox insisted that pay TV companies that entered into deals with them had to take all their channels, rather than only those that people wanted to watch. And they did, which explains why your cable TV program guide is crammed with programs you’ve never watched and probably will never.
But now, the tables have turned as people have found more flexibility with net streaming services. TV companies are scrambling for viewers and fighting them not to cut the cord – or at least pay for some channels instead of cutting the cord all together.
It remains to be seen, however, how Hulu will package it’s growing list of TV channels from TV conglomerates that are selling the same channels to a net streaming service as they do to pay TV companies.