The Long Island-based cable operator presents us with a head-scratcher. Cablevision says it has an agreement to “offer Hulu’s subscription streaming service to Optimum customers,” making it the “first cable or satellite provider” that will provide Hulu’s “comprehensive on-demand content.”
That could be a big deal if, say, Cablevision offers Hulu Plus as a subscription TV service like HBO or Showtime. It could be a big nothing if the cable operator just plans to market Hulu Plus, the $7.99-a-month service available to anyone online.
But Cablevision won’t say exactly what it’s doing, whether it involves Hulu Plus or some variation of it, how much it will cost and when it will be available.
Here’s what it does say: The offering “reflects Cablevision’s desire to meet customers where they are,” says Cablevision COO Kristin Dolan. “There is a new generation of consumers who access video through the Internet, and whatever their preference, Cablevision will facilitate a great content experience.”
Hulu — which is jointly owned by Disney, Fox, and Comcast — seems to suggest that it might be available on TV. “Even with the rapid growth in streaming, there is a huge audience that consumes television through their cable provider, and we want to be there for them too,” says SVP Distribution Tim Connolly,
Today’s announcement follows recent ones by Cablevision to offer HBO Now, and a $35-a-month so-called “cord-cutter package” that provides broadband service plus a digital antenna to pick up local broadcast channels. Cablevision systems are heavily concentrated in the Tri-State area around New York City, where it also faces intense competition from Verizon’s FiOS and AT&T’s U-verse.
The joint announcement says Hulu’s customers on whatever Cablevision offers will be able to access full libraries of series including Empire, South Park, CSI and Nashville — as well as current-season shows from most major networks. (CBS has its own streaming service: CBS All Access.) Networks with programs on Hulu include FX, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network and TNT. It offers films from The Criterion Collection and its own original programming. Hulu also has original programming, some of which it will present to advertisers in a gathering tomorrow.