Hulu, until now primarily a rerun service for episodes of broadcast television shows, is working to create a more robust offering that would stream entire broadcast and cable channels to consumers for a monthly fee.
The still-unnamed service was described by three executives with direct knowledge of Hulu’s plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly. Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu, may discuss the concept at Hulu’s upfront presentation for advertisers Wednesday.
Hulu is planning to introduce the service early next year. Although pricing details are still being determined, the new service is expected to cost about $40 a month.
News of the service was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.
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Hulu wants to offer what is known as a “skinny bundle” of broadcast and cable channels, in particular those operated by 21st Century Fox, the Walt Disney Co. and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. Those three media companies co-own Hulu.
Two executives described the development as part of an effort to rethink the way TV companies approach streaming video to make the experience easier for viewers.
The new service would not look like a regular cable channel and would offer a more intuitive, personalized experience, one person said. It also would allow for more targeted commercials, where advertisers could select particular audiences to see their messages. An ad for cat food, for example, would be aimed at cat owners.
Offering a combination of live and recorded programming to streaming services required changing traditional rights agreements, and the TV companies are expected to start making their programs available to other streaming services in a similar fashion, one executive said.
Other such slimmed-down streaming television services include Sling TV, available for about $20 a month, and PlayStation Vue, which starts at about $40 a month.