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Hulu Signs AT&T to Sell Subscription-Video Service on Web, Mobile — But Not TV for Now

AT&T will sell Hulu’s premium Internet subscription video-on-demand service to customers through its websites and mobile apps — but the current deal does not encompass offering Hulu on AT&T’s pay-TV service.

The nation’s biggest telco said it is “exploring the possibility of bringing a Hulu app to TV” through the AT&T U-verse TV service, which has 6 million subscribers.

The pact comes after Hulu announced deals with Cablevision Systems and five smaller cable operators to resell the $7.99-per-month SVOD service. Cablevision has not announced whether it will provide Hulu through set-tops or only to web and mobile devices, while the five smaller MSOs are streaming the service through their set-top boxes.

AT&T said the deal builds on its current contract with Hulu to distribute the Internet TV site’s free content. Hulu’s SVOD service will be available from AT&T starting some time later in 2015.

“We know that our customers want to be able to access video on multiple devices,” said Andrew Goodman, associate VP of content acquisition for AT&T. “So we’re excited to be able to expand our relationship with Hulu and make its innovative and vast video selections available to AT&T customers on multiple screens.”

AT&T customers will be able to browse Hulu programs and select the shows they want to watch through an AT&T mobile app or an AT&T website for Internet viewing.

Hulu has about 9 million subscribers for the SVOD service. The company, a joint venture of 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal, has been aggressively acquiring exclusive content, including all nine seasons of “Seinfeld.” Hulu also has been developing a high-profile slate of originals, including Stephen King’s “11/22/63” Kennedy-assassination thriller from J.J. Abrams, to attract more subs.

Other recent Hulu programming pickups include “Empire,” “South Park” and “CSI,” along with a deal with AMC Networks under which it obtained exclusive rights to “The Walking Dead” spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead.” Hulu offers current-season programming from five of the six top broadcast networks (excluding CBS).

Hulu has marketed the subscription VOD service as Hulu Plus, but the company said it will drop “Plus” from the name.

AT&T said the expanded relationship with Hulu complements the telco’s other over-the-top initiatives, which include Otter Media, the joint venture with Chernin Group to invest in, acquire and launch OTT video services. Otter Media’s holdings include a majority stake in Fullscreen, a major YouTube multichannel network.

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