ViacomCBS announced a new multiyear distribution agreement with Hulu, under which Hulu’s live TV subscription streaming service will add 14 cable networks: BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, VH1, CMT, Nick Jr., TV Land, BET Her, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick and MTV Classic. The companies declined to specify the date when those networks will be available to Hulu + Live TV customers.
Hulu’s live TV package has lacked the legacy-Viacom nets ever since its spring 2017 debut. ViacomCBS’s agreement with Hulu comes after the media conglomerate secured a similar deal last spring with Google’s YouTube TV, which also had not previously carried the 14 cable networks. In ViacomCBS’s first year as a combined company, it also has inked renewals with pay-TV providers including Comcast, Dish Network and Verizon.
The 14 Viacom channels are joining Hulu + Live TV after Disney hiked rates for the internet pay-TV package by $10 per month as of Dec. 18, 2020. Under the new pricing, the baseline Hulu + Live TV tier with ad-supported VOD rose to $64.99 per month, an 18% increase.
The multiyear pact between ViacomCBS and Disney-controlled Hulu includes continued carriage in the live TV service of CBS broadcast stations, as well as CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, and the CW, as well as continued distribution of Showtime as an add-on.
“Hulu continues to be a great partner, and this agreement ensures that Hulu + Live TV subscribers are now able to enjoy the full breadth of our leading content across news, sports and entertainment for the first time,” Ray Hopkins, ViacomCBS president of U.S. networks distribution, said in a statement.
At its investor day last month, Disney said Hulu had 38.8 million subscribers as of Dec. 2, including more than 4.1 million live TV customers. That’s up from 30.4 million subs overall (including 3.2 million with live TV) at the end of 2019.
Notably, Disney and ViacomCBS are both competing for share in the growing direct-to-consumer subscription space. In early 2021, ViacomCBS is gearing up for the rebranding of CBS All Access as Paramount Plus.