Hulu, in the latest of a string of premium TV licensing deals, has clinched a pact with Turner Broadcasting under which Hulu gains exclusive subscription VOD rights to past seasons of shows on Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TNT and TBS — as well as some future series.
Through the multiyear Turner agreement, Hulu obtains exclusive SVOD rights to full past seasons of shows including Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” (pictured above), Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken,” and TNT’s “The Last Ship” and “Murder in the First.” In addition, Hulu has exclusive rights to certain future series to launch on TNT, TBS, Adult Swim and Cartoon over the coming years.
David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting, said the Hulu deal will raise the profile of the programmer’s shows.
“This is a great opportunity to grow the reach of the networks’ original programming and complements our strategy of utilizing multiple platforms — including SVOD — to drive sampling, introduce new viewers to our content and give current fans the opportunity to explore and enjoy Turner’s new and existing series in a branded environment,” Levy said in a statement.
It’s worth noting Turner retains in-season stacking rights to the shows, which will remain available to pay-TV subscribers via on-demand, on Turner’s sites and through TV Everywhere services with cable, satellite and telco TV providers before they go to Hulu.
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The deal marks the first licensing agreement between Turner and Hulu. In December, Hulu cut a similar output pact with FX Networks for certain primetime shows, including Guillermo del Toro’s thriller “The Strain” and political drama “Tyrant.” Hulu also has been an aggressive bidder for individual shows, such as CBS’ “CSI” and Fox’s “Empire.”
Hulu’s goal with the Turner deal, as with the others: to drive up subscriptions to Hulu Plus, its $7.99-per-month SVOD service, in a bid to challenge Netflix and Amazon Prime. The company last reported having 6 million Hulu Plus subs.
In addition to licensed content, Hulu has a new slate of originals with high-profile talent, including Stephen King’s “11/22/63” from J.J. Abrams, starring James Franco; Amy Poehler’s comedy “Difficult People”; and “Casual” dysfunctional-family comedy from Jason Reitman.
Shows under the Turner deal with Hulu encompass all episodes from past seasons of Adult Swim original series including “Rick and Morty,” “Black Jesus” and “NTSF:SD:SUV,” and Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time,” “The Amazing World of Gumball,” “Steven Universe,” “Over the Garden Wall” and “Clarence.” Those will be available to stream through an SVOD service for the first time. All Cartoon Network series will be available to stream ad-free in the Hulu Kids environment.
In addition, full prior seasons of Adult Swim and Cartoon Network series such as “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Ben 10,” as well as current shows “The Venture Bros.” and “Regular Show” will be available to stream exclusively to Hulu subscribers for the first time through the deal.
Hulu also will become the exclusive SVOD destination to stream older Adult Swim and Cartoon Network shows, including “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” “Sealab 2021” and “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.” The Turner pact additionally includes rights to TBS’ upcoming series “Angie Tribeca,” which will be available to stream on Hulu after its full-season run on the cabler.
“The addition of multiple titles from Cartoon Network represents a significant step forward in continuing to build a strong programming offering for the kids audience on Hulu,” said Craig Erwich, senior VP and head of content for Hulu. “The adult animation series from Adult Swim, as well as the additional series from TNT and TBS, are a perfect addition to our current offering.”
Hulu is owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox and NBCUniversal.