WSJ: Hulu is working on a cable-like digital pay-TV service

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Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Hulu has been busy putting together a cable-like subscription offering that’d include content from partners like Disney and Fox while providing such advanced features as a cloud-based digital video recording (DVR) capability, live TV and more. The service sounds a lot like a rumored skinny TV bundle that Apple’s been unsuccessfully trying to create.

Analysts have estimated that Hulu may charge consumers about $40 per month for the yet-to-be-announced service, which won’t launch before 2017.

The new subscription service would stream feeds of popular broadcast and cable TV channels, with Disney and Fox (co-owners of Hulu) said to be close to providing many of their channels to Hulu, like ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Fox News, FX, the main Fox broadcast network, Fox’s national and regional sports channels and more.

NBCUniversal, a silent partner in Hulu, hasn’t so far agreed to license its networks for the planned digital pay-TV service, which isn’t expected to offer all the hundreds of channels found in the traditional cable bundle.

Hulu will pitch its planned service to the more than ten million people who already subscribe to its on-demand service. The yet unnamed service is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017 and won’t require consumers to be existing Hulu subscribers.

A monthly subscription fee could cost an estimated $40, with an executive close to Hulu confirming that the figure “was in the ballpark”. Other features of the service are said to include targeted advertising, a cloud-based DVR for recording and watching past episodes of shows on-demand and more.

As for Apple’s rumored $30-$40 iTunes TV skinny bundle, the company has reportedly been “frustrated” in trying to license programming from big media companies “at rates that would allow it to keep retail prices attractive to cord-cutters,” media executives have told the financial newspaper.

Source: The Wall Street Journal