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Hulu Extends Sprint Pact to Drive Live TV Subscriptions

Carrier's unlimited-plan customers already have access to ad-supported Hulu VOD tier under 2017 pact

Hulu is hoping to boost its over-the-top live TV subscriber rolls by extending a special promo to Sprint’s wireless customers.

Starting Friday (Oct. 19), Sprint customers can upgrade to Hulu With Live TV, which includes 50-plus local and national networks and access to thousands of on-demand titles, from their Sprint account. The offer comes after the companies launched a partnership in November 2017 giving subscribers on the wireless carrier’s Unlimited Freedom plan access to Hulu’s limited-commercials VOD package (normally $7.99 per month) for no additional cost.

Long term, there’s no special price break for Sprint customers for Hulu With Live TV, which costs $40 monthly. To lure in new users, Sprint and Hulu will provide a special 30-day-free trial offer available through Jan. 10, 2019 to eligible Sprint customers. Following the Sprint 30-day trial, the Hulu with Live TV subscription fee will be added to customers’ monthly Sprint bills (with a $5 monthly discount off the regular $39.99-per-month fee for the first six month).

Last month, Hulu said it surpassed 1 million subscribers for the live-TV bundle (which includes full access to Hulu’s VOD library). The company launched the live-TV streaming service in May 2017.

Meanwhile, Hulu is mulling the rollout of a lower-cost, stripped-down live TV bundle that would eliminate linear feeds of entertainment cable networks to save on programming costs. The company says it’s in talks with programmers on the concept.

Hulu With Live TV includes live and on-demand programming from more than 50 sports, news, entertainment and kids’ channels, as well as access to more than 75,000 episodes in Hulu’s VOD library.

The lineup in the $40-per-month package includes ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox locals (in most markets) plus networks from ESPN, Fox Sports, Turner, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, Bravo, A&E, the CW and Telemundo. Hulu’s VOD content includes current episodes of shows including “This is Us,” “The Good Doctor,” “9-1-1” and “Black-ish” plus Hulu original series including “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Castle Rock” and “Future Man.” Hulu also offers all past seasons of TV shows like “ER,” “Seinfeld,” “Full House,” “Lost,” “Family Guy,” “Family Matters” and “Curious George,” as well as more than 2,000 movies.

Hulu’s live TV service includes up to six individual profiles for the whole family. Users can access two simultaneous streams per account and have up to 50 hours of cloud DVR recording storage.

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