Cablevision, Hulu Sign "First Ever" Deal

Cablevision Systems Corporation will offer the Hulu subscription streaming service to Optimum customers, becoming the first linear video provider to do so. The announcement contained no details about pricing or packaging, but it might be reasonable to assume the cost will be about $8 a month, the current price for a paid Hulu subscription, and that the tweak is that the content will be viewable directly from within Cablevision’s linear TV channel lineup.

In other words, Hulu likely will be offered in the same way a linear channel such as HBO is sold and packaged.

Some might say the deal adds value to both parties somewhat incrementally. Consumers already can buy Hulu directly, and can watch on TVs, PCs, tablets or smartphones. That likely will not change as Cablevision becomes a distributor.

But that’s where the incremental value might be created. Hulu gets a big distributor with a customer base and the ability to promote the service. Cablevision gets a new network nobody else offers as part of the linear package.

The move arguably adds a bit more momentum to the “over the top” trend.

The bigger impact plausibly could come if Netflix strikes a similar deal with another major cable TV company (in terms of subscriber share), for the simple reason that Hulu has relatively small market share among OTT providers, while Cablevision likewise has a limited footprint.

So far, only a couple of smaller cable TV providers (Suddenlink. Grande Communications, RCN and Atlantic Broadband) have signed deals to integrate Netflix into their channel lineups.
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