Hulu confirms plans to stream live TV and dabble in documentaries

Hulu’s answer to Sling TV and PlayStation Vue is coming in 2017.


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Hulu has confirmed that it’s working on a live streaming channel bundle, akin to existing services from Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. The service will arrive in 2017, Hulu said during its Upfront marketing presentation in New York, The Verge reports.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Disney and Fox are near agreements to bring live channels to the service, including Fox Sports, FX, ESPN, and ABC. A separate Variety report claimed that Hulu was in talks with NBCUniversal to carry channels such as NBC, Bravo, and SyFy. (Hulu is jointly-owned by Fox, Disney, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.)

Hulu didn’t get into specifics about how the service will work, what it will cost, or what channels will be available, though sources believe the price will be around $40 per month. CEO Mike Hopkins only noted that the service would offer a “deeply personalized experience,” and that subscribers would not need traditional cable TV service.

Dig documentary films? Don't miss these stories: What's up, Docs? We focus our streaming spotlight on documentary films and Reality doesn’t bite: CuriosityStream delivers all documentaries.

Beyond the live streaming service, Hulu is also continuing its love affair with original programming, with season renewals for The Path and The Mindy Project. The service is getting into documentaries as well, and will be the exclusive streaming source for Ron Howard’s Beatles: Eight Days A Week after its theatrical run.

The investments in new and old video, along with an ad-free subscription option, have helped Hulu reach a new milestone: The service should hit 12 million U.S. subscribers this month. This is, however, a slower growth rate than the previous year.

Why this matters: “Skinny” TV bundles are all the rage now, as more people avoid or cut back on cable and media companies look to recapture the losses. While Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are solid services already, Hulu’s brand name, subscriber base, and big media backers could help give it an edge as these options proliferate.

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