Update: NBCUniversal joins Fox, Disney in talks to build out Hulu’s live TV service

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Hulu is planning an internet television service for cord cutters with a platform that allows you to stream live broadcast and cable channels, according to the Wall Street Journal. Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox are expected to license their channels for the platform. Meanwhile, NBCUniversal is in talks with the streamer, according to a new Variety report.

With Fox Broadcasting Company, NBCUniversal Television Group, and Disney-ABC Television Group co-owning Hulu, it makes sense that their channels would be a part of Hulu’s planned service. So far, Disney’s ABC, ESPN, and the Disney Channel, along with Fox News, FX, and Fox’s local and national sports channels are said to be part of the bundle. If NBCUniversal’s contributions could include NBC, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Syfy, and USA.

Hulu currently hosts on-demand shows licensed by its network owners as well as original content. The new service would place it in competition with pay-TV providers as well as any companies throwing their hat in the same digital ring. Insiders say that the streaming company plans to launch the new online subscription service in early 2017. Hulu is in talks with other programmers, but it isn’t aiming to put out hundreds of cable channels.

Instead, the service is looking to leverage its platform to take advantage of the shift away from pricey cable and satellite services for a slimmer channel bundle. The company is targeting its 10 million-plus subscribers, though you don’t need to be a customer to sign up for the new service.

Hulu will join the ranks of such services as Dish’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue, both of which offer bundles of live channels online without a cable or satellite subscription. Vue bundles start at $30 per month, while Sling TV comes in at $20 for its basic package. Other contenders in the digital TV battle include Amazon, AT&T, and Apple.

Cable TV companies have fought back by offering lower-priced streaming options, such as Comcast’s Stream, which costs $15 per month and offers streaming of limited content.

So how much will Hulu’s service cost? About $40 per month, according to Todd Juenger, media analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein. This was confirmed by “an executive close to Hulu.”

A cloud-based video recorder should come with the service, along with the ability to watch past episodes of shows on demand, similar to what is offered by cable and TV services. Hulu is also planning on using targeted advertising within the service.

Updated on 05-02-2016 by Stephanie Topacio Long: Added reports that NBCUniversal is in talks with Hulu for the new service.

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