Hulu Confirms Plans for ‘Skinny’ Service

Product is designed for people ‘falling out of love’ with pay-TV, CEO Hopkins says

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins confirmed that Hulu was looking to create a new subscription service offering a skinny bundle of live and on-demand programming that would compete with traditional distributors.

“It is not a declaration of war on anyone. I don’t think we are designing this for people that are really happy with their pay TV service. This is designed for the people that the marketplace is concerned are falling out of love with pay TV. We want to have a product for them,” Hopkins told The New York Times.

The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported on Hulu’s plans. And B&C reported on a “theory” by analyst Todd Juenger that owners Walt Disney and 21st Century Fox wanted Hulu in the skinny bundle business.

Multichannel News reported that Hulu was talking to NBCU about being part of the bundle. Comcast, also owns a stake in Hulu but is a silent partner under an agreement reached when it acquired NBCU.

In the interview, Hopkins says its unclear how many streaming services will compete with traditional distributors and how successful they’ll be.

“We’re in this phase where a lot of people are going to launch these and test and see how they work. Over time, not all of them will last. It is not an easy business to be in. You are direct to consumer. Every single day you have to make people happy enough to stay a subscriber. It is very easy to sign up and it is very easy to cancel,” he said.

Hopkins did not say how much the new service would cost and which channels will be included in the service.

Hulu will be making its NewFront presentation to advertisers Wednesday morning.