Hulu signs on A+E Networks for live TV service but Viacom may be out

Hulu's upcoming live TV service will include A+E Networks but reportedly not Viacom. Image: Hulu

Hulu has a new affiliate agreement with A+E Networks that will bring all six of the programmer’s channels to Hulu’s upcoming live TV service.

A&E, History, Lifetime, LMN, FYITM and Viceland will all be part of the 40-plus channel lineup for the service when it launches in the coming months.

“As we begin to finalize our new live TV service, we’re pulling together the most valuable, well-rounded package of channels available for under $40,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu, in a statement. “We know the A+E Networks brand of award-winning storytelling is important to our viewers, and we’re very excited to add their networks to the core service we launch this Spring.”

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However, Viacom and its slate of channels are reportedly being left out of the service. According to Bloomberg, Hulu was unable to come to terms with Viacom for carriage of its channels including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV.

Hulu did not immediately respond to FierceBroadcasting’s request for confirmation.

RELATED: Hulu’s live TV plans begin to take shape

Hulu offered up more details on its plans to offer live TV earlier this year and opened the service to limited beta testing ahead of its launch. The service will be priced under $40 per month and will include features like cloud DVR as well as access to Hulu’s on-demand video library.

The service has already signed on programming partners including Disney, Fox and Time Warner (all of whom own stakes in Hulu) as well as CBS. The service has yet to come to terms with NBC (another Hulu co-owner).

RELATED: YouTube TV gets lukewarm reception from analysts

For Viacom, being excluded from Hulu’s live TV service comes as another blow when programmers and broadcasters are all jockeying for distribution in the growing market of virtual MVPDs.

Last month, YouTube announced its upcoming YouTube TV service, and many core cable networks and programmers were excluded, including Viacom. YouTube TV signed deals with all of the major broadcasters and brought on many of those companies’ regional sports networks and affiliated cable networks including ABC’s Disney channels, ABC's ESPN, CBS’s Showtime, Fox’s FX, Fox's National Geographic and NBCUniversal’s USA Network.

Programmers like Time Warner, A+E Networks, Viacom, Scripps, and Discovery did not show up among the channels included in YouTube TV.

Interestingly, TiVo firm Digitalsmith’s latest research on pay TV services showed that A&E and History are both in the top ten for channels that U.S. consumers would most want to pay for on an a la carte basis. For Viacom, only Comedy Central showed up in the top 20.

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