Two big partners have signed onto Hulu’s internet TV service: The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox, whose support means that Hulu will be able to offer channels including ESPN, ABC, and Fox.
Hulu announced its intention to launch a streaming TV service, which would let subscribers watch broadcast and cable channels live over the internet, earlier this year, saying it was aiming for a 2017 launch. Before that can happen, Hulu needs to ink deals with all of the major networks it wants to offer — which makes signing Disney and Fox a big step forward.
On top of those two, Hulu has already signed a deal with Time Warner, which owns CNN, TNT, and TBS, giving it access to another group of important channels.
That still leaves out some big names, including CBS and NBC. But Comcast — the owner of NBC — is a major investor in Hulu, which makes a deal there seem likely. You can look at the lineup of services like PlayStation Vue and Sling to see what other channels are willing to make the jump to online distribution. If they’re on those lists, chances are it’s only a matter of time before Hulu gets a deal, too.
Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins is already promising “additional partners to come.” There’s still no specific timing on when Hulu hopes to launch the service, beyond at some point next year.