Earlier this month, Hulu CEO Randy Freer said the company would be revamping its Live TV service by dropping some entertainment channels and adding smaller bundles. Now, that change has come about. The streaming service announced this week the launch of two new add-ons that focus on entertainment and Spanish programming.
The add-ons are actually small bundles of channels instead of individual networks.
A new $4.99 per month “Español” add-on will offer live news and sports networks, including ESPN Deportes, NBC Universo, CNN En Español and History Channel En Español.
Another $7.99 per month “Entertainment” add-on will offer the live feeds from the live network feeds of LMN (Lifetime Movie Network), FYI, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and CNBC World.
And later this year, Hulu will bring Discovery Networks to its service, where its channels will also join one of these two add-ons. Those channels include Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, Discovery Family, Science and Destination America.
While Hulu with Live TV today already offers premium add-ons, including HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and Starz, this is the first time it has sold add-ons that are bundles of channels outside of its core lineup.
The additions make Hulu seem more like Sling TV, the competitor from Dish that has for a long time marketed itself as a low-cost way to stream live TV, starting at $25 per month. Users customize their Sling lineup through various add-on packages that start at $5 per month for bundles, like a “lifestyle extra” or “kids extra,” for example.
“This is just another way we are providing viewers with more choice and options in creating their own personal, complete TV experience, all in one place,” a Hulu spokesperson said. “With these new Español and Entertainment package add-ons — and the addition of the STARZ premium add-on last week — we’re giving Hulu with Live TV subscribers easy access to even more of the content they love.”
However, the addition of the add-ons did impact Hulu’s core package on a couple of fronts.
The company emailed subscribers to inform them that, as of October 30, it has moved FYI and Lifetime Movies from Hulu with Live TV to the new Entertainment add-on instead. Users are being given a one-month free trial as a part of this transition, the email also says. If they take no action, the Entertainment add-on will be removed from their account on November 30.
Freer had told The Information earlier in October that the changes to Hulu will allow it to reduce costs and free up more funds to spend on original content.
Hulu recently made a name for itself on that front. It won its first Emmy last year for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and picked up a few more this year, as well. But it’s nowhere near beating streaming rivals HBO, Netflix and Amazon, as of yet. It hopes that selling customers more add-on bundles will help it to grow revenues and invest in other areas.
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