Fox, Disney Add Channels to Hulu's Live TV Service

Mike Hopkins - Hulu CEO-H 2016
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Fox, ABC and ESPN will all be offered as a part of Hulu's new skinny bundle when it launches next year.

Hulu is putting the pieces in place for its forthcoming live television service. 

The streamer announced Tuesday morning that it has struck deals with both 21st Century Fox and Disney to add channels from both companies to its programming lineup.

The Fox deal will give subscribers to the new Hulu service, which is set to launch in 2017, access to the broadcaster's entertainment, news, sports and nonfiction programming including Fox, Fox Sports channels and Fox News. Disney, meanwhile, will make its portfolio of Disney/ABC networks, including ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform, as well as ESPN available on the service. Combined, the deals represent the addition of more than 35 channels to the Hulu service, which will be available for subscribers alongside its current subscription for next-day TV and original series. 

"We're building a service that offers subscribers the most sought-after programming on television — and channels from 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are essential to that mix," said Hulul CEO Mike Hopkins. "With these two new deals in place, and additional partners to come, Hulu will soon give TV fans of all ages live and on-demand access to their favorite programs in a whole new, more flexible, highly personalized way." 

Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal each own a third of Hulu. THR has previously reported that NBCU, which acts as a silent owner in the streaming service, is also in talks to bring its programming to the live TV offering. 

Earlier this year, Hulu agreed to sell a 10 percent stake in its business to Time Warner, which simultaneously agreed to offer live and on-demand streaming for its Turner channels, including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and truTV

The launch of a live television service comes as Hulu has invested heavily in building out its consumer offerings over the last several years. The company has followed in the footsteps of rival Netflix with a slate of original programming like comedy Casual and thriller The Path. A year ago, Hulu unveiled an ad-free version of its subscription. It also recently did away with its free, ad-supported offering. 

Hulu has yet to announced specifics around its new live streaming service, including how much it will charge for the skinny bundle of channels. It will launch in the midst of an increasingly competitive landscape for live television offered over the top. Dish operates SlingTV, PlayStation offers Vue and YouTube is working on an offering of its own, called Unplugged.