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Published on October 17th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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Hulu hints at cheap streaming TV bundle with low-cost sports & news

The streaming TV service Hulu with Live TV is studying ways to grow its customer base with a cheaper, bare-bones live television bundle of less-expensive sports, news and on-demand content, according to Hulu CEO Randy Freer.

In a published interview Tuesday with The Information (subscription required to read), Freer he wanted to drop some live entertainment channels to create a smaller bundle of content that appeals to viewers who want TV, but at a low price point.

“We have to be able to evolve so we can provide the customers the news and sports and entertainment in a way that makes sense, bundled in a way that allows us to create packages that have a positive margin,” he said.

The strategy is a different take on offering TV content, one focused more at on-demand programming from cable networks with live content targeted at news and sports.

Freer said Hulu could offer smaller packages of channels, such as an entertainment bundle that consisted of HBO, Starz, and Showtime, as well as a sports or news bundle with live content.

Freer’s strategy could look like a bundle of local network affiliates, together with NBCSN, ESPN/ESPN 2, CNN, Fox News Channel, TBS, TNT and other news and sports-focused channels. What it would not include are channels with more expensive carriage fees charged to Hulu by broadcasters and then passed on to subscribers. Those channels would include Discovery, Viacom, and AMC channels, to name a few.

In the interview, Freer said Hulu wants to become the “friendly wholesaler” of direct-to-consumer brands.

“We are going to become the wholesaler for a lot of these direct-to-consumer brands…versus Amazon or Apple. That is going to help us recreate rules around what needs to be live and what doesn’t.”

Freer gave no timeline for launching additional bundles and gave no specifics on possible pricing.

Hulu reported in September Hulu With Live TV that it now has more than one million subscribers. The company reported back in May that it passed 800,000 customers for the streaming service alone, a 22 percent increase in four months.

Hulu with Live TV launched in May 2016 and is jointly owned by Fox, Disney/ABC, Comcast/NBC Universal and Time Warner. The app is available in the App Store, with Live TV subscriptions starting at $39.99 a month.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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