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Hulu Hiking Price of Live TV Service 22%, to $55 per Month

Hulu is implementing its second price increase in less than a year for its Hulu With Live TV product — with the base package of 60-plus live channels increasing 22%, to $54.99 per month.

The price hike on the monthly base price of Hulu With Live TV will go into effect Dec. 18 for all customers, with the change reflected for current subscribers in subsequent billing cycles. “The new price better reflects the substantial value of Hulu + Live TV and allows us to continue offering all of the popular live news, sports and entertainment programming included in the plan,” the company said in announcing the increase Friday.

Hulu last raised the price of the live-TV bundle in January 2019, from $40 to $45 per month.

Once seen as a lower-cost option to pricey and overstuffed traditional cable and satellite TV bundles, “virtual” pay-TV services have ultimately faced the same economics that have held in the industry for years — in which programmers demand higher carriage fees, leading to regular price increases for consumers. “We all have to ultimately run a business that can be profitable,” Hulu CEO Randy Freer said at a conference a year ago.

The latest price hike comes after Hulu added an estimated 400,000 new customers in the third quarter of 2019, putting it at 2.7 million — just ahead Dish Network’s Sling TV to nab the No. 1 spot among U.S. over-the-top TV providers for the first time.

Hulu, which is now controlled by Disney, noted that the Hulu With Live TV service includes access to all of its on-demand content, comprising over 85,000 TV episodes and thousands of movies. The lineup includes Hulu originals like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Castle Rock” and “Shrill,” as well as current and past TV shows including “This Is Us,” “The Good Doctor,” “Family Guy,” “ER” and “Lost.”

Hulu also noted that customers can downgrade their live TV subscription — to get just the $5.99 per month (with ads) or $11.99 per month (no ads) SVOD-only tiers — at any time. “If you love college football, choose Hulu + Live TV during the season, then switch to one of Hulu’s less expensive on-demand plans when it’s over,” the company said in announcing the price increase.

Also, as execs have said in the past, Hulu is “actively exploring ways to provide additional, more tailored live TV options in the future,” the company said. That could include smaller, less-expensive bundles that exclude entertainment channels.

The Hulu With Live TV lineup includes all four major broadcast nets — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — in most U.S. markets, as well as cable channels including ESPN, Fox Sports, CNN, FX, and TNT.

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