Another online TV bundle could be hitting the market as soon as next year, and this one may have big TV networks behind it. According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney and 20th Century Fox are close to making a deal with Hulu to license channels and content for a new digital TV service that could be available in early 2017.
Disney and Fox are co-owners of Hulu, so it makes sense that they would partner up with the online streaming platform over the likes of Amazon or Netflix. The unnamed service would stream live TV from popular channels including ABC, ESPN, Fox, and the Disney Channel, as well as archived content from the networks involved. While the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal is also a co-owner of Hulu, it has not agreed to license any network content to the new service.
Reports also suggest that the service may include a “cloud-based digital video recorder” for watching previously aired shows on-demand. While no price information has been given, the service is expected to run about $40 per month to compete with similar TV bundles from companies like Dish’s Sling TV ($20 per month) and Sony’s Playstation Vue (starting at $30 per month).
What makes this Hulu service so interesting is that traditional cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable are customers of Disney, Fox, and other TV networks. By licensing live content out to a digital service, Disney and Fox would essentially be competing with its biggest customers. This only underlines how the cable industry is struggling to offer options for everyone that combine the best content with the best prices and meet the needs of those consumers who are watching more video online than ever before.