Hulu’s long-awaited internet TV service is taking steps toward finally coming online. The company today announced today that it had officially signed deals with Disney and 21st Century Fox. The company currently streams licensed and original content on-demand. Disney and 21st Century Fox join Turner as the first three companies to sign formal internet TV deals with Hulu.
The fact that both of the companies would be willing to share their live TV catalogs with Hulu comes as no surprise, as each has a significant ownership stake in the streaming service.
A long-rumored deal with NBCUniversal has not been signed, but with these three content providers now set in stone, it looks more likely than ever. Hulu’s internet TV service will compete with Dish Network’s Sling TV, and Sony’s Playstation Vue, which offer bundles of live channels for those without a traditional cable subscription.
“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,” said Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins in a press release. “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.”
The new internet TV service will target Hulu’s monthly on-demand subscribers, who number over 10 million, as potential customers first, though Hulu membership will not be required for those interested in one of the company’s internet TV subscriptions.
Unlike its true-cable competitors, the new internet TV Hulu will likely launch with a smaller number of well-curated channels that subscribers can pick bundles from, rather than the hundreds that can often come bundled with a digital cable subscription. The service is expected to launch early next year.