The companies just renewed and expanded their multiyear pact that makes Hulu the exclusive SVOD home for popular shows from Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV.
Kids shows in the agreement include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rabbids Invasion, Sanjay And Craig, Breadwinners, Bella And The Bulldogs and The Thundermans. Comedy series include The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Drunk History and Key & Peele. The MTV shows include Faking It and Finding Carter.
Some current series including The Daily Show are available on Hulu the day after they broadcast. Others are delayed. The deal makes those programs plus libraries of past shows available to subscribers who pay $7.99 a month to watch Hulu with ads or $11.99 to watch it commercial-free.
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman lauded Hulu’s “commitment to their customers and brand partners” as well as “the promotional and marketing support they provide for our brands and shows.” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins calls Viacom “an important partner of ours since we struck our first deal with them over five years ago.”
The deal is consistent with Hulu’s campaign to beef up its exclusive programming. For example, it previously reached an agreement with South Park Studios to show Comedy Central’s South Park. The service owned by Comcast, Disney and Fox also recently made programming deals with Fox to offer hits including Empire, AMC Networks for series such shows as Fear The Walking Dead, and Sony to offer Seinfeld. In addition, it allied with Epix to show movies from its owners, Lionsgate, Viacom’s Paramount and MGM.
As a result of these and other growth initiatives, J.P. Morgan’s Alexia Quadrani recently figured that Hulu could be worth nearly $8 billion in 2017, about $2 billion more than investors currently figure.
But there’s a vigorous debate on Wall Street over whether Viacom’s SVOD deals are helpful (because they bring in cash) or damaging (because they lure viewers away from its ad-supported pay TV channels). The company has been struggling with declining domestic TV ratings and ad sales.
Dauman told an investor gathering last month not to worry. “Overall viewing is increasing,” he said. “We have to be smart, we think we are being smart, about how we window the content.” Viacom’s SVOD revenues have grown. Indeed, “we’ve made more operating income from the category than other players have. … This is our syndication market, if you will.”