Hulu secures a new licensing deal with NBC in pursuit of ‘bingers’

Best Hulu movies

Hulu is looking to get more skin in the binge-watching game, inking a deal with Comcast-owned NBC Universal to stream past seasons of exclusive content in order to better compete with its streaming rivals.

The multi-year deal will secure Hulu the exclusive rights to prior seasons of popular shows from NBC’s vault, including “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “The Mindi Project,” (both of which air on Fox), as well as reality shows from NBC subsidiaries Bravo and E! such as “Top Chef.”

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Comcast deal is just one of several new moves Hulu has made recently in a shift in strategy. In February the company made similar deals with CBS Corp as well as Disney, both moves which greatly expand its reach into the “binge” worthy realm of popular shows that are not currently available from Hulu’s greatest opponent, Netflix. The CBS agreement secured the rights to past seasons of its Sherlock Holmes refresh, “Elementary,” while the ABC deal added “Nashville,” to the list.

Up to this point, Hulu has mostly been known as the go-to service for viewers looking to catch up on current episodes of their favorite series but, as the Journal reports, newly appointed CEO Mike Hopkins sees dipping into the deeper layers of popular shows as a must to keep viewers glued to the site. “The value of the current season to us has a limit,” Hopkins said. Viewing habits have changed rapidly as Netflix has secured its place at the top of the streaming mountain, and viewers increasingly want to journey through the full story of their favorite titles.

The Comcast deal, which broke this morning, shouldn’t have been much of a problem for Hulu to lockdown. Afterall, Comcast owns a chunk of the conglomerate-controlled service, as do other major network players like Disney (which owns ABC and ESPN) and 2oth Century Fox. While Comcast is barred by regulators from controlling Hulu, Disney and Fox are not, and the massive corporations have a big say in how Hulu operates.

Those deep ties to the the major networks are both a boon and a bain to Hulu’s plans for streaming domination, however. As the Journal reports, while Netflix, and to a lesser extent Amazon Instant, look to usurp pay-TV services like satellite and cable from their respective thrones,  Hopkins said one of Hulu’s major goals is to integrate more deeply with pay-TV, including landing in set-top boxes – not surprising considering the sources pulling the strings.

Ironically, Hulu, and more directly its pay service Hulu Plus, has become a tent pole in the “cord-cutter” tool kit, combining with Netflix and Amazon Instant to create the holy trinity of content for those who have left cable or satellite for greener pastures. It should be interesting to watch the company’s strategy moving forward as it walks a tight wire through what has become one of the most complex and entangled landscapes in the entertainment industry.

For now, with over 900 new episodes coming from NBC Universal alone, the company has made some good strides to assure its viewers keep coming back for more.

Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.
Home Theater

Hulu vs. Amazon Prime Video: Which streaming service is best for you?

It's hard to dispute Netflix's leadership in on-demand streaming video, it's not alone. Two great alternatives are Amazon Prime Video and Hulu; each with its strengths and weaknesses. Which one is better? We pick the winner.
Home Theater

ESPN Plus scores the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events

If MMA is your game, then ESPN Plus is now a very important player. The Disney-owned service locked up the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events, a deal that will last through 2025 in the United States.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.

Amazon slashes prices on UE Boom and MegaBoom 3 Bluetooth speakers

With just the right combination of great sound, a rugged design, and an overall sleek aesthetic, the UE MegaBoom 3 is our favorite Bluetooth speaker. And Amazon is offering a rare discount on it right now.
Home Theater

Tipping point? Streaming subscribers outnumbered cable in 2018 for first time

2018 was a very good year for the entertainment business as a whole, but it was especially good for streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon, says a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in April 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. April 2019 brings Game of Thrones season 8, BlacKkKlansman, and Crazy Rich Asians to HBO.
Home Theater

TCL drops the price of its 75-inch 6-Series 4K Roku TV to $1,500

March is a great time for TV deals, and we've got a whopper: TCL has taken $300 off the price of its superb 75-inch 6-Series 4K HDR Roku TV, making it $1,500. That's the lowest price ever on this affordable TV.
Movies & TV

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex, a $5-a-month service aimed at cord cutters

For $5 a month, Xfinity Flex gives existing Xfinity internet subscribers a 4K- and HDR-ready set-top box that can stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, as well as free TV from apps like Cheddar and ESPN3.
Home Theater

Here’s how to watch Apple’s March 25 product reveal event live

It's almost here: Apple's much anticipated March 25 event, where it is widely expected to announce several streaming services, including on-demand and live TV with original programming. Here's how to watch it live.
Movies & TV

HBO’s Deadwood movie rustles up a trailer and a release date

This spring, HBO's long-awaited Deadwood movie will explore what happened 10 years after the events of HBO's award-winning drama, giving the series a finale 13 years after the show was canceled.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.