Hulu readying live-streamed pay-TV bundle, WSJ says

Hulu has programming agreements in place with Disney and Fox and is readying the launch a live-streamed skinny pay-TV bundle in early 2017, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Hulu hasn't officially commented. In a memo sent investors over the weekend, media analyst Todd Juenger speculated that the price of the service would run around $40 a month and feature both major broadcast networks and cable networks. WSJ confirmed that estimate is in the correct range.

Hulu is a joint venture between the Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox and Comcast/NBCUniversal. WSJ said Disney would license ABC, ESPN and the Disney Channel to Hulu's service, while Fox would deliver the Fox broadcast network, Fox News FX, national sports channel Fox Sports 1 and the company's regional sports networks. 

Comcast's NBCU division reportedly hasn't agreed to provide access to its channels.

Hulu has 10 million subscribers to its subscription video on demand platforms and would use this base to market its new service. 

Dish Network has proven that streaming skinny pay-TV bundles are appealing to consumers, generating more than 500,000 subscribers in 14 months after launching its Sling TV service. Sony's PlayStation Vue launched around the same time, and has gained momentum lately with the addition of channels and more appealing price points. 

"The appeal of Skinny Hulu, we suppose, would be: if skinny bundles are gaining popularity, the major network owners should take their product directly to consumers, capture the opportunity (and the margin, and the asset value) themselves, and ensure their networks are part of the (theoretically) most widely distributed skinny bundle offering. Leave the nonsense networks out," Juenger said.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal story
- read this New York Times story

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