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Hulu Announces Live TV Service, Over 50 Channels for $39.99

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At today's Hulu NewFront, CEO Mike Hopkins didn't keep the advertiser-heavy audience in suspense: He announced Hulu's long-awaited live TV service right from the start. Available today in beta, Hulu Live TV goes for $39.99 per month and includes over 50 channels. The lineup includes the four major broadcast networks, as well as entertainment, sports, and kids channels. Hulu has agreements with 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, NBC Universal, A+E Networks, Scripps, Turner, and CBS.

At launch, Hulu Live TV will be available on Apple TV, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, and iOS and Android devices, with more platforms (including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung devices) to come. Subscribers get a 50-hour cloud DVR, up to 6 profiles, and the ability to stream two streams at once. Subscribers can upgrade their account with unlimited in-home simultaneous streaming for an additional $14.99 per month, or with a 200-hour cloud DVR with the ability to fast-forward through commercials also for $14.99 per month. Getting both those extra features together costs $19.99 per month.

The $39.99 subscription includes Hulu's $7.99 limited commercial video-on-demand library of over 3,500 titles. There's a kid's mode for child-friendly viewing, and sports from the NFL, NBA, NCAA, MLB, MLS, and NHL. Viewers can upgrade to an ad-free subscription for an additional $4.00 per month. Getting the live TV service without the on-demand library costs $38.99 per month.

"Today marks the beginning of our biggest move yet," Hopkins said, calling Hulu Live TV not just another skinny bundle, but an intuitive and personalized service. "Hulu can now be your primary source of television—live and on-demand," he added.

While that would have been enough for the day, Hulu also announced a second season for The Handmaid's Tale and a new Marvel superhero series called Runaways. Hulu will be the exclusive SVOD home to This Is Us and Atlanta. Celebrity presenters included J.J. Abrams, Mindy Kaling, Josh Hutcherson, Jeff Daniels, and Sarah Silverman, all of whom are bringing new series to Hulu.

For advertisers, Hulu announced a new ad unit called T-Commerce that lets viewers purchase items through a video overlay. For example, viewers can buy tickets on their televisions and have those tickets sent to their phones instantly. Hulu will also offer 360º ads, and is partnering with Nielsen to support the measurements specialist's Digital Ad Ratings (DAR). Hulu has a 93 percent ad viewability score (which is hugely high) and only charges for ads fully viewed. Finally, programs stored to Hulu's cloud DVR will not only include ads, but those ads will be updated when content is viewed so they're never stale.

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