Hulu has been testing some relatively untouched waters with its new live TV streaming service. Hulu’s live TV is still in beta, but users can already sign up to receive dozens of live television channels for $39.99 a month. Some of the biggest names in cable and network television are included, but users have been incensed by the fact that many local channels aren’t available in some areas. Live streams of sporting events and even entire networks are unavailable on Hulu’s live TV in various locations, and Hulu meanwhile restricts users’ ability to circumvent location-based programming. Luckily, however, Hulu is working hard to resolve these issues. Just this week, Hulu announced the acquisition of over forty local Fox affiliates for its new live TV service.
Hulu has yet to issue a statement about the agreement with Fox, but The Wall Street Journal is reporting that some of the major cities involved in the deal include Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Birmingham, Alabama. With this new announcement, Fox local streams are now available in over 70 local markets on Hulu’s live TV beta.
Fox already has deals with Hulu to air live streams of some of its cable networks like Fox Sports, Fox News, and National Geographic. With this latest deal with Hulu, Fox could be signaling a strategy of getting in on the live TV market before many of its competitors realize that the future of television likely lies in streaming – Fox Entertainment Group is a 30% owner of Hulu, after all. If more affiliates with more networks can sign similar agreements, these local streams could be the straw which finally breaks the cable camel’s back. What reason will there be to stay with cable once live local TV is available cable-free?