Viacom expands Hulu partership … and debate about its value to pay-TV

Fueling arguments by pay-TV providers that its content is too widely distributed across over-the-top channels, Viacom has significantly expanded its partnership with Hulu.

"We will be adding top titles from Nickelodeon to our Hulu Kids offering that have never before been made available to stream on Hulu," reads an announcement from Craig Erwich, Hulu's senior VP and head of content. "That means soon, viewers will be able to stream episodes of classic series such as Invader Zim, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Drake & Josh, Hey Arnold! and many more."

Erwich also announced that news seasons will be added to adult-targeted series such as Comedy Central's Drunk History, Tosh.0 and Inside Amy Schumer.

In recent months, Viacom has seen bundles of more than 20 channels removed from the program guides of a number of smaller cable providers--with Cable One and Suddenlink being the biggest, most recent and most conspicuous.

One of the issues cited by operators amid the failed program licensing negotiations with Viacom is the ubiquity of the conglomerate's content on SVOD channels like Hulu. The issue is particularly relevant with kids' content, with the target audience less concerned about the freshness of the programming. The argument in a nutshell: Does a 6-year-old really know or care that he's bingeing on a 10-year-old episode of Hey Arnold!? And does he know or care what channel it's on?

A Viacom spokesperson has yet to respond to FierceCable's inquiry for comment.

For more:
- read this Hulu blog post
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

Related links:
Viacom, Ninja Turtles take Suddenlink battle to West Virginia high school
Suddenlink adds another non-Viacom network, Sony Movie Channel
Doing the math on Suddenlink's decision to kick out Viacom: A good call by the cable company
Suddenlink inks deals with CBS, Diddy's Revolt, but not update on pending Viacom blackout
Suddenlink threatens blackout of Viacom channels