Apps & Software

U.S. only streaming service Hulu’s plan to take on Netflix involves streaming live TV

It looks like the second biggest player in the U.S. streaming video content industry has a new strategy to differentiate itself from Netflix – airing live TV.

This morning Hulu announced plans to begin offering subscribers the ability to stream “live programming from broadcast cable brands” in 2017. This reportedly includes live sports, news and events, according to a statement released by Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins. The key here is that a traditional cable service won’t be required to watch any of this live content on the platform, only a Hulu subscription is necessary.

Networks like Fox, ABC, ESPN, FX and the Disney Channel have all reportedly been involved in the negotiation process. It’s unclear if adding live content to its platform will require a monthly subscription price hike on Hulu’s part. Adding Showtime to a Hulu subscription currently costs an additional $8.99 USD on top of Hulu’s $7.99 USD monthly subscription fee, and it’s likely the platform will adopt similar pricing with live content.

The strategy seems to move Hulu’s strategy more in line with competing live streaming services like Sling TV, a $20 per month Dish Network-owned live TV streaming platform that features cable channels like Adult Swim, A&E, AMC, Bloomberg, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney Channel, El Rey and ESPN. Sling TV also offers more premium channels for an additional fee, including HBO for $15 USD per month.

This pivots Hulu’s current focus of offering older television seasons, as well as episodes of newer shows the day after they air on traditional cable services, significantly. Hopkins says that Hulu has plans to discuss its service in greater details over the course of 2016.

Hulu is a solid streaming television show and movie platform that’s unfortunately only available in the U.S., but through the magic of proxy services that either switch a device’s DNS or IP address, as well as some relatively simple credit card address trickery, it’s easy to access Hulu in Canada.

Beyond dedicated sports streaming applications for the NHL, NBA and MLB, streaming live television by legal means in Canada is a difficult task. Networks that do offer apps that stream live content, like CTV’s Go app for example, require a traditional cable subscription.