More than 14 ViacomCBS networks, including Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, and Comedy Central are coming to Hulu with Live TV, the company announced today. Hulu is not announcing a price hike with the new additions at this time.
This marks the first time that many of ViacomCBS’s networks are being made available to Hulu with Live TV subscribers. Other networks that come with the package include Paramount Network, VH1, CMT, Nick Jr., TV Land, BET Her, MTV2, NickToons, TeenNick, and MTV Classic. The multiyear expanded deal also ensures that Hulu with Live TV customers can retain access to CBS Sports Network, Pop TV, Smithsonian Channel, The CW, and Showtime.
“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,” said Ray Hopkins, president of US networks distribution at ViacomCBS.
Prior to ViacomCBS and Hulu’s partnership, ViacomCBS made a deal with YouTube for its live TV offering, YouTube TV, to carry the same suite of networks. At the time, the addition led some industry insiders to believe a price hike for YouTube TV was likely imminent. History certainly set the precedent: YouTube TV saw a $5 price increase in 2018 (from $35 to $40 a month) after Turner networks (TNT, TBS, CNN, truTV, Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim) were added. YouTube TV was hit with price hikes once again (an additional $10 to $50 a month) not long after adding a number of Discovery channels and local feeds from four major broadcasters in April 2019.
Those concerns turned out to be true. Not long after YouTube TV started carrying ViacomCBS channels, the service’s monthly cost sharply rose to $65 a month. Expecting a Hulu with Live TV price hike in the near future isn’t too out of left field. The only saving grace is that Hulu with Live TV already saw a price hike in late 2020 (going from $55 a month to $65, on par with YouTube TV). Still, annual price hikes for virtual live TV services have become par for the course.
That’s especially true when said virtual TV providers are growing. Hulu with Live TV has more than 4 million subscribers and is tied into Disney’s growing suite of streaming services. CEO Bob Chapek spoke about Disney’s commitment to Hulu with Live TV on a recent earnings call, and the Hulu team laid out plans for its future at Disney’s big investor day in December.
While Disney executives continue to reiterate their commitment to Hulu’s live TV offering, there’s no question that cord cutting — once designed as the cheaper and better option — is becoming more expensive with each passing year. Still, being able to cancel and being able to switch services whenever might be more appealing to some customers than being caught in cable’s messy web.