Hulu and Discovery announce partnership for live and on-demand programming

Hulu and Discovery this morning announced a wide-ranging partnership that will see Discovery’s live and on-demand programming added to Hulu’s streaming service. The multi-year agreement will see nearly 4,000 episodes of Discovery’s shows added to Hulu’s on-demand library, as well as five additional Discovery TV networks – Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Motor Trend, the rebranded Velocity network, and Animal Planet – to Hulu’s live TV service.

This will bring the total number of Discovery TV networks on Hulu with Live TV to now eight. They join existing channels, HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel which were available through a prior agreement with Scripps Networks, which Discovery acquired for $14.6 billion.

The new channels will begin to stream live in December, Hulu says.

Meanwhile, all Hulu subscribers will be able to watch on-demand programming like Deadliest Catch, MythBusters, Say Yes to the Dress, Naked and Afraid, Property Brothers, Gold Rush, Street Outlaws, Chopped, Chopped Jr., Fixer Upper, House Hunters and House Hunters International. 

Hulu and Discovery had been in talks about this deal for well over a year, reports Variety – even before Hulu with Live TV launched in May 2017.

“At Discovery, we are committed to bringing our portfolio of high-quality, safe family friendly brands and content to viewers across every screen, service and device around the world,” said Eric Phillips, President of Affiliate Distribution at Discovery, in a statement. “Our new agreement with Hulu affirms the strength of our brands and their value to viewers in a marketplace with an increasing array of options.”

Along with the overall Discovery partnership, Hulu has also reached a licensing agreement with OWN, part of the Discovery Networks family, which will bring four of the network’s top shows to Hulu. This includes all past episodes of Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots, If Loving You is Wrong, The Paynes and Love Thy Neighbor, which are available to stream for the first time. Hulu was already streaming another OWN show, Queen Sugar from Ava DuVernay and Warner Horizon.

Despite the new additions, Hulu’s pricing remains the same. It’s still $40 per month for its cable-like Live TV service, which also includes the on-demand programming and Hulu Originals. Its on-demand only offering, meanwhile, starts at $8 per month, and goes up to $12 for the ad-free plan.

For Hulu, the deal will allow the service to better compete against a growing number of competitors for cord cutters’ dollars. In addition to the major on-demand offerings from Netflix and Amazon, Hulu’s live TV service is up against rivals like Dish’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, Google’s YouTube TV, Philo, fuboTV, and AT&T’s DirecTV Now and WatchTV.

Hulu claims that the addition of Discovery has now put it over the top in terms of content. When the additions go live, Hulu with Live TV will stream more than 60 live TV channels along with Hulu’s entire streaming TV library, which it says is now the largest in the U.S.

However, Hulu’s live TV service continues to lack AMC Networks and Viacom channels, Variety also notes.

“As the only streaming service offering a complete television experience, Hulu continues to strike strategic, efficient deals with top brands that bring extraordinary value to all of our subscribers,” said Lisa Holme, Vice President of Content Acquisition, and Reagan Feeney, Vice President of Network Partnerships at Hulu, in a joint statement. “Discovery’s brand is synonymous with high-quality unscripted entertainment that TV fans love, which is why we are excited to bring their entire portfolio to our platform, across all of our subscription plans.”

The news of the Hulu deal follows remarks made by Discovery CEO David Zaslav at an industry event earlier this summer, where he said the company was considering a streaming service of its own, where all its networks would be available for a price of $5 to $8 per month.

Going live on Hulu doesn’t necessarily negate that plan – Discovery could always launch on Amazon’s a la carte service, Amazon Prime Video Channels, for example, or even go it alone. But it could reduce consumer demand for such a service, given that Hulu today reaches over 20 million U.S. subscribers.