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Hulu has come a long way since first rising to streaming prominence around 2009, and its TV programming has only gotten more expansive and broad in the years since, especially on the original series side. It isn't Hulu's own shows that are the big draw behind its upcoming live TV streaming package, though, but rather all of the linear networks that are signing deals. The company just roped in its biggest prize yet, as some big announcements were topped off with news that CBS-owned networks will also be part of the live streaming service. No bazinga!
It's quite the big day for Hulu, since the service can now boast having the biggest four networks involved with its live streaming service (along with a slew of other channels), vaulting it higher in the ranks of consumer-worthy options for those who choose streaming over standard cable or satellite plans. Since CBS has its own standalone streaming service in CBS All Access, which offers live streaming, the network hasn't been the quickest to sign deals like this, and it's not even available on services as big as DirectTV Now from AT&T. That's huge for customers who still haven't made the cord-cutting jump yet.
There is a caveat here, for those who read "CBS-owned networks" and automatically assumed it meant all of them, but it looks like CBS Sports and Pop are the only others presently included. The CW, co-owned by CBS, is not currently a part of the live streaming deal, and it's not clear if that will change before the service launches. Hulu and The CW were partnered for five years, but that flipped when Netflix put their money on the table for exclusivity on current seasons of hit shows. There's a chance that live streaming hits a different area of the contracts than post-season streaming, giving Hulu and Netflix the rare chance to work together on something, but it probably isn't too likely.
Back to the good news! We finally got to hear a price point for Hulu's streaming service, which was a high point of interest, considering the company's past monetary shifts from free-with-ads to subscription-optional to subscription-exclusive. Speaking at the Citi Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference at CES (via Deadline), CEO Mike Hopkins announced Hulu's live streaming will go for less than $40 a month, which isn't as low as the more bare-bones packages on Sling TV and others, but obviously isn't as pricey as bigger cable/satellite plans.
Perhaps best of all for those already familiar with Hulu's current TV library, that less-than-$40 fee does indeed include a subscription to the standard on demand service, so you won't have to pay extra to get all the awesome content that can't be covered with live TV. There will also reportedly be different subscription levels, with other add-ons to be included, such as premium networks like Showtime and Starz.
There's still no exact release date set for Hulu's live TV streaming, but that just means there's more time for Mike Hopkins to keep making attention-grabbing deals like this. It'll be very interesting to see how things pan out for all the other companies when the service kicks off later this year. In the meantime, check out some of the shows you can find on live TV with our midseason premiere schedule.