Hulu Confirms New Cable and Broadcast Channel Streaming Service

The service will offer consumers real-time delivery of broadcast and cable TV network channels without requiring a cable connection.

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A recent Consumer Reports survey found that nearly half of U.S. households (47 percent) now use some type of streaming service like Netflix or Amazon. However there is some debate about whether this means that consumers are truly cutting the cord on cable.

Hulu is hedging its bets with its newest service offering. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins confirmed reports of a new “skinny bundle,” or a cable-like bundle of channels available for streaming, this morning at Hulu’s upfront presentation to advertisers at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden. 

The service will offer consumers real-time delivery of broadcast and cable TV network channels without requiring a cable connection. Hopkins didn't mention an official price but reports have pegged the fee at $40 per month.

A company that has until now been more or less a rerun service for broadcast television shows, Hulu is rethinking the way TV companies need to approach the streaming video user experience. Hulu's subscriber base has increased 33 percent in the last year to 12 million.

The new service won't be your regular cable channel. Hulu aims to offer a more intuitive user experience to young consumers, who prefer a personalized steaming service to the traditional cable or satellite subscription package, and the so-called cord cutters who are no longer interested in paying a heft fee for hundreds of cable channels.

Hulu is expected to offer channels run by 21st Century Fox, the Walt Disney Company and Comcast’s NBC Universal, three media companies that co-own Hulu. The service will also allow for targeted commercials, in which advertisers can select particular audiences to see their messages.

Other similar streaming television services include Sling TV, available for around $20 a month, and PlayStation Vue, which starts at $40 a month.

The new Hulu offering may be a good thing for TV companies that could capitalize on consumers' preferences for more tailored bundles, traditional cable and satellite distributors might see the Hulu service as a “declaration of war,” according to the New York Times which reported whispers of the new service earlier this week.

The service is expected to be released early next year.

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Chelsea Cafiero is Senior Web Editor of CE Pro. She also manages the corresponding websites of sister publications Commercial Integrator, Security Sales & Integration, Campus Safety and Electronic House. Chelsea has previously covered politics, local news and consumer electronics. She joined the CE Pro family in 2012.

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