Hulu says its under-$40-a-month cable TV competitor will be ‘sports-centric’

Maddie NFL

Hulu is preparing to launch a live TV service, which will compete with cable and be priced at “under” $40 per month.

The service will work much like a regular cable or satellite TV package, except that it will be delivered over the internet to your smart TV, phone, tablet, and so on. It will also be “sports-centric,” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins revealed in a new interview with Adweek.

Hulu has already signed up CBS for its upcoming service, which is significant given that competitors like Dish’s Sling and AT&T’s DirecTV Now still haven’t gotten CBS to agree to a deal. And one big reason, according to Hopkins, is because Hulu wants its live offering to nail sports.

Here’s what Hopkins said about CBS:

“CBS has the No. 1 network [in ages] 18-54, and they have a lot of really great programming. We’re going to make this a sports-centric offering, and if you’re going to make that part of your package, you have to have NFL, you have to have the complete March Madness package and all of the other great sports that they have. We thought it would be important to have the big four broadcasters, and CBS certainly rounds that package out for us.”

Sports could be a key battleground for Hulu as the streaming TV market heats up, with Google and Amazon rumoured to be working on their own packages.

In May of last year, Citi analysts argued that web delivery would “dramatically increase the value of sports content,” as consumers get things like player profiles, game highlights, custom angles, and archival footage. Hulu could capitalise on this if it can be the streaming service that helps define what young cord-cutters want from a sports package.

Hulu has also said that its new service will integrate its existing $7.99-per-month on-demand video library into the mix, at no extra cost, as well as cloud DVR capabilities.

The big questions going into the launch will be the full channel lineup and technical performance. AT&T’s DirecTV Now has been swamped by technical complaints and outages since it launched in late November, and Dish’s Sling TV has had its own host of tech problems.

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