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Hulu Secures A+E Networks Programming, Passes on Viacom

13 Mar, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Hulu has licensed rights for its pending $40 online TV service to six pay-TV channels from A+E Networks, while reportedly declining channels from Viacom.

The move, announced March 10, comes as pay-TV networks scramble to find seats on the burgeoning online TV bandwagon launched two years ago by Dish Networks’ Sling TV, and now includes AT&T’s DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Charter Spectrum TV Plus and pending YouTube TV. 

Joining Hulu LLC’s core package of more than 40 channels are A&E, History, Lifetime, LMN, FYI and Viceland. Series include History’s “Six” and “The Curse of Oak Island”; A&E’s “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” “Live PD” and “Born This Way”; FYI’s “Married at First Sight” and “Tiny House Nation,” Viceland’s “Gaycation” and “Weediquette” and Lifetime’s “Project Runway” and “UnReal,” among others.

A+E channels join others from CBS, 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Co. and Turner Networks that will be offered at launch. Hulu is co-owned by Fox, Disney, Time Warner (which owns Turner) and Comcast.

“As we begin to finalize our new live TV service, we’re pulling together the most valuable, well-rounded package of channels available for under $40,” Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu, said in a statement. “We know the A+E Networks brand of award-winning storytelling is important to our viewers, and we’re very excited to add their networks to the core service we launch this spring.”

Hulu remains in negotiations with Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks Interactive and AMC Networks, which is a co-owner of RLJ Entertainment, including Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel.

The cold shoulder shown Viacom comes as the media company tries to reassert itself with a new CEO and internal restructuring around key brands: Paramount, MTV, BET, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.

While Viacom does have license deals in place with Sling TV and DirecTV Now, it is also absent on PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV. In a statement, Viacom said it remains “engaged in ongoing conversations with a spectrum of new, emerging digital distributors as we execute against our recently announced strategy.”

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