Hulu's live TV service won't offer Viacom networks


A&E, History, Lifetime, LMN, FYITM and Viceland will all be part of the 40-plus channel lineup for the service when it launches in the coming months. Hopkins states that Hulu knows the A&E brand, that of award-winning content, is important to its viewers.

Hulu's live streaming TV service will cost under $40 and launch later this spring, but specific information remains unclear.

Sources close to Hulu said that while Bob Bakish, the new CEO at struggling Viacom, has spoken out about a strategy that focuses on six flagship networks, Viacom wanted more of its networks included in the package, which would make it hard for Hulu to keep the price tag of the service below $40 a month.

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The History Channel, for instance, has lost 8 million subscribers since the beginning of 2013, while Comedy Central has lost almost 9 million, as per Bloomberg's report, citing Nielsen data and Bloomberg Intelligence.

Hulu's new service will offer subscribers the most valuable, premium live TV offering on the market in a groundbreaking, new user experience for under $40 per month. It has previously announced pacts with 21st Century Fox, CBS, Disney-ESPN and Turner. Viacom backing away from a Hulu deal renders the company bereft of any content from Comedy Central, or Nickelodeon - two big channels with a diverse set of audiences that could help Hulu's streaming service earn some stride.

Last November, Sony dropped Viacom networks from the PlayStation Vue internet-delivered pay-TV service, saying in a statement, "We have determined that removing the bundle of channels from Viacom is the best way for us to continue to offer the most compelling value to our fans".

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There's competition in the cable-style online TV space from Sling TV and AT&T with its DirecTV Now service and Google-owned YouTube plans its own service. Google's recently announced YouTube TV will not include Viacom nets at launch (nor does YouTube now have Discovery, A+E, Scripps, Turner or HBO), with deals to offer CBS, Showtime, Fox, NBC, ABC and Disney channels.

"Having our top six networks available on their core package speaks to the power of our entertainment portfolio in reaching men, women, adults and millennials", A+E CEO Nancy Dubuc said.

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