Cablevision today announced it would begin offering the Hulu Plus subscription service to its broadband customers, making it the first time Hulu has ever established a deal with a traditional pay TV provider to resell its streaming service. The move comes shortly after Cablevision also became the first pay TV provider to sell access to HBO NOW, the network’s new, over-the-top service aimed at Internet customers who don’t pay for cable TV.
Cablevision also last week debuted a pair of “cord cutter” Internet packages, which include the option to bundle in HBO NOW.
Hulu Plus, like HBO NOW, will be offered to Cablevision’s Optimum Online customers who pay for high-speed Internet access through the telecommunications provider – a package that includes online access and the ability to use the company’s more than a million Wi-Fi hotspots. It would also be available to those who subscribe to any Optimum-branded services, which also include digital TV and phone services.
While Hulu Plus is available currently for $7.99 per month, Cablevision has yet to announce details about its own pricing plans as a reseller for the service. It has also not said when it expects to make the option available to its customers.
Those who choose to bundle in Hulu Plus with their Cablevisoin service will gain the same streaming catalog as those who would have otherwise signed up for Hulu on their own, but the difference here is the convenience of being able to pay for Internet and the streaming service on just the one monthly bill. That can make it easier for budgeting purposes, but it could also help Cablevision retain customers who may have otherwise decided to sever their relationship with the company when they decided to cancel their pay TV service.
It can help Cablevision acquire new customers who may have never wanted to sign up for cable TV in the first place, but were looking to choose a new internet provider.
A number of pay TV providers have more recently focused their efforts on appealing to cord cutters – Verizon got itself into hot water over its new a la carte bundles, in fact, when ESPN sued it for being removed from the core lineup. Plus, Dish Networks is selling an internet service called Sling TV which also offers a la carte channel packages.
However, with the Hulu deal, Cablevision is the first pay TV provider to become a reseller of Hulu. And that means Hulu is now open to taking a different route to find new customers for its service. Its premium tier Hulu Plus has over 6 million customers, as of its last report, compared with Netflix’s 60 million+ subscribers, and Amazon Prime’s (so Prime Instant Video)’s 40 to 50 million members.
“At Hulu we believe users should have the ability to consume their favorite content, when, where and how they want,” said Tim Connolly, senior vice president, distribution at Hulu in a statement. “Even with the rapid growth in streaming, there is a huge audience that consumes television through their cable provider, and we want to be there for them, too.”