Hulu has made a decision to go head-to-head with YouTube and other streaming services that are now offering what can be described as "light" cable subscriptions.
Customers who want to add live content from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and a total of more than 50 other channels to Hulu's on-demand video library can upgrade to a $39.99 monthly package. Hulu's price is similar to what YouTube is asking for - $39.99 per month to start - but it's hoping that a few key features will make it stand out from the competition.
The deal, which was announced by Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins at the company's Upfront presentation in New York City today, gives Hulu both live and on-demand rights for Scripps Networks Interactive's HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel at launch, as well as DIY Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country.
Still, at a time when ESPN, Comcast and even Verizon has flirted with launching a streaming TV service, Hulu's entry into the market shows that Americans have a massive appetite for online alternatives to traditional cable.
The service has over 50 different channels available, spanning across major networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Hulu also says there will be more premium networks available soon, though they don't indicate which channels they'll be.
The service includes 50 hours of recording storage, up to six individual profiles and two simultaneous streams per account.
Google's Sundar Pichai Received Nearly $200 Million in Compensation in 2016
Google's parent company Alphabet shrugged off pressure over online hate videos as it posted a 29% rise in quarterly profits. The business now represents about 13 percent of Alphabet's total revenue, compared with 10 percent a year earlier.
Most of the company's owners don't break out their Hulu losses in quarterly reports, but they acknowledge that losses have continued.
During upfronts Tuesday morning, Hulu revealed that it is now offering live TV packages to subscribers.
Hulu Live TV was first announced back during CES, where I had a chance to take a peek at the new software well before it was ready for primetime. The new service will also include its current video streaming options.
Since Hulu with Live TV is just getting started, it's not quite as appealing as other services that have been around for awhile such as Sling TV or PlayStation Vue.
The public Beta trial is available on Android and iOS phones and tablets, and fourth-generation Apple TV, Xbox One and Chromecast. However, that advantage may not last long as YouTube TV continues to add more channels to its base lineup. Technical snafus have plagued many streaming TV packages in the early days, including Sling TV and DirecTV Now. A $40 dollar price point could be low enough to lure cord-cutters into the ecosystem, given the impressive breadth of content, especially in news and sports.
One nifty aspect for sports fans is that Hulu allows you to follow your favorite pro or college teams, and will surface those games for you instead of you having to figure out what channel they are on.