“Looks like Hulu’s live-streaming service just scored some potential subscribers,” Madeline Berg reports for Forbes. “The platform announced this morning that it had sealed deals with Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox that would add major networks from both companies to the line-up of programming available through its new live stream and on-demand service that launches early next year.”

“These channels will include ABC, ESPN, Freeform and Disney Channel from Disney and Fox, Fox Sports, Fox News, FX Networks and more from 21st Century Fox. This deal comes after Hulu and Time Warner came to an agreement earlier this year that provided networks from the Turner suite–including TNT, TBS, CNN and TruTV–would be available for live or on-demand viewing,” Berg reports. “‘We’re building a service that offers subscribers the most sought-after programming on television–and channels from 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company are essential to that mix,’ says Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu.”

“The new live TV streaming service, which will cost about $40 a month, resembles a (not so) skinny bundle,” Berg reports. “These services attempt to provide consumers the content they want without a costly middleman like a telecommunications company (such as Comcast) or a tech giant (like Apple). Additionally, customers can choose to pay for only the content they want, rather than shelling out more for the extra channels that are so often part of cable subscriptions.”

“Live TV, particularly sporting events, seems to be one of the most common reasons people stick with cable, which makes Hulu’s announcement–specifically its implications for ESPN and Fox Sports–all the more compelling to potential subscribers (and more expensive for Hulu),” Berg reports. “‘Hulu likely paid the highest carriage fees for those channels’ says Neil Megly, an analyst at Moody’s. But it may just pay off. ‘Sports is the linchpin for a lot of folks who pay for television,’ he adds.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Once again, at least somebody is capable of getting ink.

It’s quite possible that without Steve Jobs’ help, Eddy Cue couldn’t get ink in a stationery store. Just kidding (sort of)! But, boy this is taking eons to accomplish, isn’t it? — MacDailyNews, November 5, 2015

As we wrote last December: “It’s 2015. This should’ve happened already. At this rate, America will back on the moon before Eddy Cue gets the contracts inked. So, before we’re dead, m’kay?”

As we’ve written umpteen times, Apple’s Internet TV service, if it ever happens, would have to have ESPN. It will also likely require the “Big Four” networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) – although it could launch with three out of four and eventually hammer out a deal with whichever one is being the most reticent. That said, at this late date, Apple might as well wait until they have a full dance card.

What else would you consider to be must-haves?

Beyond the Big Four, if you go by primetime ratings (total viewers), the top 20 U.S. cable networks are:

2. Fox News Channel
2. USA
3. TBS
4. Disney
5. Discovery Channel
6. History Channel
7. TNT
9. Nickelodeon
10. AMC
11. Adult Swim
12. FX
13. Cartoon Network
14. Food Channel
15. Lifetime
16. ABC Family
17. Syfy
18. TLC
19. Hallmark
20. Investigation Discovery

Source: Nielsen estimates, Live plus-3 for 12/29/14 – 12/16/15 (M-Su 8-11 p.m.)

Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service to debut in early 2017; close to deal with 21st Century Fox – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016