Covered in detail on the official Hulu blog earlier today, Hulu and Viacom have signed a new deal that brings the current season Nickelodeon programming to Hulu Plus subscribers. Different from Netflix, Hulu Plus subscribers will be able to watch the most recent five episodes of Nickelodeon shows approximately 21 days after the shows have aired. While Netflix provides an extensive amount of older Nickelodeon programming, Hulu is the first third-party subscription service to offer access to current episodes of Nickelodeon shows. Alternatively, children can visit the Nickelodeon site in order to view select episodes of their favorite shows.
Specifically, shows such as Spongebob Squarepants, the final season of iCarly, Kung Fu Panda, The Penguins of Madagascar, Winx Club, Robot & Monster, The Legend of Korra, T.U.F.F. Puppy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are included within the deal.
In addition, Hulu doesn’t play any advertising during the Nickelodeon shows beyond a reminder of the broadcast date and time before an episode starts. There are no restrictions on devices either, so parents can give their child a smartphone or tablet to watch these Nickelodeon shows assuming they have a subscription to Hulu Plus.
This deal does not include programming that’s broadcast on Nick Jr.. Shows directed at younger viewers like Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Max & Ruby and Bubble Guppies aren’t included within the new Viacom agreement. However, the inclusion of the previously mentioned shows on Nickelodeon’s main channel should significantly increase the usefulness of Hulu Plus among parents with tweens. For example, Netflix’s “Just for Kids” user interface has been particularly helpful in attracting new streaming subscribers with young children.
Interestingly, Hulu does not have expanded settings regarding parental controls according to the Hulu support page. This could be a problem for adults that share the account with their kids. In order to block mature content from younger viewers, parents have to log out of their Hulu account. For Hulu Plus subscribers, users have to contact Hulu’s customer service to alter the birth year on the account in order to block mature content.
While Hulu specifically provides pages for family and kids programming, Hulu’s method of blocking content is cumbersome when compared to Netflix. Netflix allows the user to assign a specific rating value to the video content that can be accessed through the account.
With five different rating levels, parents could setup a Netflix streaming account for a child that’s limited to “PG and below” programming. This rating system applies to television programming and limits what shows up onscreen as well as the Instant queue. However, changes to the parental rating on the account take up to eight hours to start working.
In addition to the news about Nickelodeon, the new deal between Hulu and Viacom includes a continuation of the agreement that adds new episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report a day after each show has aired on Comedy Central. Identical to the previous agreement, viewing the high definition version of each show requires a Hulu Plus subscription. Due to the current news topics covered by the two popular shows, Viacom’s standard 21-day waiting period on a show like Jersey Shore simply wouldn’t be beneficial to viewership.