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Hulu, Discovery Ink Deal for Live TV Channels, Exclusive On-Demand Shows

Five more Discovery channels will be available on Hulu's live TV service in December

After well over a year of haggling, Hulu clinched a pact with Discovery to bring five of the cabler’s networks to Hulu’s live-streaming internet TV lineup along with thousands of on-demand episodes.

The companies had been in talks on an agreement since before Hulu launched its over-the-top streaming TV service in May 2017.

The multiyear deal will bring five additional Discovery networks to Hulu With Live TV, set to be available to subscribers starting in December 2018: Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Motor Trend (the rebranded Velocity) and Animal Planet. Hulu has an existing distribution pact with Scripps Networks Interactive — now owned by Discovery — for HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel.

Under the pact, Hulu will boost its on-demand lineup with Discovery shows, expanding to nearly 4,000 episodes from the non-fiction programmer. Hulu will be the exclusive subscription streaming home for several unscripted Discovery shows, including “Deadliest Catch” (pictured above), “Say Yes to the Dress,” “MythBusters” and “Naked and Afraid,” and four scripted series from Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

With the additional Discovery programming, Hulu’s pricing — for now — will remain the same. Hulu With Live TV, priced at $40 per month, now delivers more than 60 live channels as well as Hulu’s entire VOD library, which the company claims represents the largest selection of on-demand TV content in the U.S. Hulu’s SVOD-only service is $8 monthly with ads and $12 per month with no commercials.

The addition of Discovery’s five TV nets will help Hulu compete in the OTT “skinny bundle” race against the likes of DirecTV Now, Dish’s Sling TV and YouTube TV. Hulu With Live TV still doesn’t include AMC Networks and Viacom channels.

Discovery TV shows coming the Hulu’s VOD service include “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.” The on-demand titles will be available exclusively on Hulu across all its subscription plans.

In addition, Hulu reached a licensing agreement with Discovery-controlled OWN for exclusive streaming rights to all past episodes of four of the network’s top-rated series: “Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots,” “If Loving You Is Wrong,” “The Paynes” and “Love Thy Neighbor.” Hulu previously inked a deal to stream OWN series “Queen Sugar” from Ava DuVernay and Warner Horizon.

“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,” Eric Phillips, Discovery’s president of affiliate distribution, said in a statement.

The deal with Discovery was negotiated for Hulu by Lisa Holme, VP of content acquisition, and Reagan Feeney, VP of network partnerships; the two execs currently report directly to Hulu CEO Randy Freer. “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,” Holme and Feeney said in a joint statement.

Hulu is jointly owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox, Comcast/NBCUniversal and AT&T’s WarnerMedia. Under Disney’s deal to acquire big chunks of Fox, Disney will obtain 21CF’s 30% interest in Hulu to give the Mouse House a controlling stake in the streaming company.

Hulu’s parents are set to invest an additional $1.5 billion in the venture in 2018 (up from $1 billion last year). As it continues to invest in content and technology — amid heavy spending by rivals like Netflix and Amazon — Hulu remains unprofitable: Its losses more than doubled in the second quarter of 2018, to $357 million. At the same time, Hulu has experienced strong subscriber growth, announcing this May that it surpassed 20 million paying subs, up from 12 million two years prior.

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