At $39.99, Hulu’s Live TV Service Will Go Head-to-Head with YouTube TV
Hulu’s new service closely matches pricing and features of YouTube TV.
Earlier this year, Hulu announced that it had signed a deal with CBS to be among the networks included in its new live-streaming service coming later this year, though pricing was not known at that time. TechCrunch reports that Hulu will be priced at $39.99, according to unnamed sources. While the pricing has not been officially confirmed by Hulu, the expected $39.99 price tag includes ads, live network broadcasts, Hulu Originals like 11-22-63 and Shut Eye and Hulu’s on-demand library.
TechCrunch also says that Hulu’s new service will include some cloud DVR services, but Hulu has not disclosed what that bundle will look like yet. A separate, unlimited DVR bundle may be made available as an add-on priced in the $20 range. According to TubeFilter, premium channels like ShowTime might be available as add-ons, and subscribers can get an ad-free version for an additional $4.
This type of skinny bundle competes directly with traditional cable companies; this appeals to cord cutters and cord nevers, and it also competes with skinny bundles offered by Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and the new YouTube TV. The new Hulu live + on-demand service appears to have user profiles similar to Netflix, according to this preview published in January.
Last week YouTube TV launched in five major metro markets – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia. Priced at $35 a month, YouTube TV offers live television and more than 50 networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, FX, Disney, USA and other with ShowTime and Fox Soccer Plus available as add-ons. YouTube TV sweetened the pot with unlimited cloud DVR capabilities which can be watched from anywhere and by making the service available to up six members of the same household.
According to Ad Week, YouTube TV is seven days in and it has already had 147,300 downloads to smartphones and tablets. Whether or not that is a “success” is relative, because those customers are not yet subscribers. They would be still be in the one-month free trial period.
The streaming world is evolving beyond the Netflix on-demand model to offer subscribers live TV in addition to on-demand and original programming. This is particularly appealing to those who are tired of paying the high price of cable bundles, but still want some live TV programming to watch the daily news, live awards shows and reality shows and their favorite broadcast programs like Scandal, Empire and NCIS.
It seems like the services who are offering skinny bundles are staying under $40 a month, but some offer ad-free options and add-ons for subscribers who want DVR services and premium channels. At some point, the market for live + streaming TV will become saturated, but for now, services like YouTube TV and Hulu can build on the successes of early entrants into the market, offering the best of both worlds.
Subscribers are the ultimate winners, because with the subscription model, subscribers can choose their own entertainment packages to get the shows they want, when they want and how they want at a price they are willing to pay.