Free video streaming service Tubi TV has struck a partnership with Hulu to distribute some of Hulu’s catalog for free across its website and mobile apps, Variety has learned. A Hulu spokesperson confirmed the deal, but declined to comment on the exact number of titles it is licensing as part of this partnership. A Tubi representative declined to comment.
A search across Tubi’s catalog showed that some of the titles sourced from Hulu include “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Cheers,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Melrose Place” as well as Hulu originals like “The Mindy Project,” “East Los High” and “Casual.” Tubi also began to distribute some independent movies, as well as Spanish-language titles, from Hulu’s catalog.
This isn’t the first time Hulu has struck such a licensing agreement. The company is also distributing some of its content for free on Yahoo, Comcast, EW and Time.com, among others. However, most of its previous distribution partnerships only extended to the web, whereas Tubi is adding Hulu content to its Android and iOS apps as well.
Hulu launched back in 2007 with both a free, ad-supported catalog and a paid subscription service. In 2016, it pulled its plug on free content on Hulu.com, and instead squarely focused on its subscription tier, as well as the development of its live TV service.
At the time, the company’s senior VP and head of experience Ben Smith justified the move with shifting priorities: “As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy.”