Hulu Confirms Plans for Live Channels

“We’re going to fuse the best of live TV and on-demand,” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins says

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins has confirmed the on-demand streaming service will morph into one that directly competes with traditional TV by adding live channels.

“We’re going to fuse the best of live TV and on-demand,” Hopkins said Wednesday at its NewFronts presentation to an audience of marketers in New York.

Earlier this week, news leaked that Hulu was working with networks at its parent companies — Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal — on such a service, which would add feeds of live broadcast and cable TV channels to its current Netflix-like catalog of video-on-demand shows and movies.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Disney is offering ABC and ESPN, while Fox aims to include its broadcast network, Fox news, FX, and national and regional sports channels. TheWrap reported Monday that NBCUniversal was also in early talks with Hulu about including channels, as well.

Hopkins, however, provided no further details about the coming service during the presentation.

It will be a major shift for Hulu and its traditional TV owners. Adding live channels will make Hulu directly competitive with the traditional TV ecosystem that powers much-bigger businesses at the streaming site’s parents. Rather than competing largely with subscription on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu will morph into more “skinny bundle” online service like Dish’s Sling TV and Playstation’s Vue.