Hulu’s chief executive has said that the company is aiming to change up its live TV offering by breaking down its current $40-per-month channel package into smaller bundles. The current package has over 1 million subscribers, and CEO Randy Freer did an interview with The Information this week where he confirmed that the company is rethinking its approach to selling live TV.
Freer said he wants to drop some of Hulu’s existing live channels in favor of on-demand programming and focus the company’s live TV efforts on “live sports and news.” So it sounds like customers might lose some channels that are currently available for 24/7 live streaming, though Freer didn’t specify which networks might be switched back to on-demand.
Hulu seems to be preparing for a future where content owners — such as Comcast, if it offloads its stake in the streaming company — bail on live TV apps and instead build out their own services. What happens when networks take their ball and go home? Hulu says it will be ready to aggregate that content in a model similar to Amazon’s Prime add-on channels.
“We are going to become the wholesaler for a lot of these direct-to-consumer brands that are going to need a friendly wholesaler versus Amazon or Apple,” he told The Information. Freer also said that Hulu is able to air marquee programs live even if the network itself is ordinarily on-demand, similar to HBO Now. “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.
Just yesterday, Netflix credited New Fox — the remaining live broadcast, news, and sports assets that weren’t involved in the Disney/Fox deal — for taking a smart approach. “New Fox appears to have a great strategy, which is to focus on large simultaneous-viewing sports and news. These content areas are not transformed by on-demand viewing and personalization in the way that TV series and movies are, so they are more resistant to the rise of the internet.” Based on Freer’s comments, Hulu shares in that thinking.
In much smaller news, streaming Hulu on your laptop in the wee hours won’t be such a jarring experience for your eyes anymore. The company has rolled out a night mode for its web player for a “darker, more cinematic experience.” Once you’ve switched over to dark mode, it’ll remain activated the next time you visit Hulu’s site; it’s easy to toggle between the two, however.