Hulu is said to be working on a live-streaming service that it would use to provide broadcast and cable TV channels like ESPN and the Fox network.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the plan is for the streaming company to position it as a “competitor to traditional pay-TV providers.” Hulu is conveniently part-owned by Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox, and the Journal claims that it’s on the brink of singing deals to provide access to live content from the pair as early as next year. Indeed, the newspaper reckons that Disney’s ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Fox News and FX would all be among the channels available via the service.
Interestingly, NBCUniversal also owns a part of Hulu, but it hasn’t agreed to signing over access to any content yet. But that might not matter too much: The newspaper’s sources tell it that Hulu “isn’t looking to offer all the hundreds of channels found in the traditional cable bundle.”
It’s thought that Hulu would provide an online DVR system as part of the service, as well as providing on-demand access to old episodes of some shows. This all blurs the boundaries between streaming and cable provision, and you could accordingly expect the service to cost more than current offerings from the likes of Netflix—an “executive close to Hulu” told the Journal that around $40 per month “was in the ballpark.”
It’s not clear of course if the as-yet unnamed services will definitely make it into the wild, let alone by the start of next year. We’ll have to wait and see.