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Hulu, CBS Announce Carriage Deal

4 Jan, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As expected, CBS and Hulu Jan. 4 announced a carriage agreement whereby the broadcast network and select pay-TV channels will be available on the subscription streaming video service’s pending online TV service.

The arrangement is largely limited to catalog TV shows, but does includes CBS Sports Network and Pop, the pay-TV channel co-owned with Lionsgate. Subs will have access to “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS,” “Big Brother,” “Blue Bloods” and “60 Minutes,” both live and on-demand.

“To build a successful live TV service, you have to have viewers’ favorite sports and shows — and CBS’s programming is absolutely vital to that mix,” Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu, said in a statement.

Hulu, which is co-owned by Time Warner, Disney, Fox and Comcast, had heretofore been in the crosshairs of CBS CEO Les Moonves, who refused to license content to the SVOD, contending doing so would validate a competitor to the media giant’s upstart CBS All Access streaming service. Indeed, the carriage pact does not include licensed content for the Hulu SVOD service.

But online TV is a different story. Cognizant of the rapidly evolving pay-TV landscape, Moonves continually harps on the self-serving notion that services such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, YouTube and Charter Spectrum TV Plus, among others, can’t compete without CBS and Showtime programming — the latter, like HBO, marketed as premium add-on.

Thus, CBS content remains absent on Sling TV and DirecTV Now. Hulu Live (which is slated to launch in the first half of the year for $40 a month), however, has licensed channels from Disney and Fox.

Earlier this year, Hulu announced an affiliate agreement with Time Warner for live and on-demand streaming of Turner’s suite of entertainment, sports, news and kids’ networks including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies.

Proprietary SVOD services aside, Moonves’ resistance revolves around the usual suspect: Money. CBS reportedly charges pay-TV operators $2 per subscriber monthly for access — a fee it has been able to double from upstart online TV platforms. All Access, with about 1.2 millions subs, charges $6 monthly.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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