After months of talks, media conglomerate Time Warner has struck a deal with Hulu that will give it a 10 percent stake in the video-streaming service. Time Warner joins Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast in their partnerships with 8-year-old Hulu.
As part of the deal, Time Warner's Turner portfolio of networks, including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies, will be available on Hulu's new livestreaming service, set to launch early next year. That service, with plans expected to cost between $35 to $50 per month, could lead to further cable cord cutting.
"The inclusion of Turner's networks in Hulu's new streaming service furthers our efforts to allow consumers to engage with and enjoy our brands across a wide range of platforms and services," said Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes in a statement.
Past seasons of several Turner shows are already available on Hulu.
"This investment from Time Warner marks a major step for Hulu as we continue to redefine television for both consumers and advertisers," added Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins. "Our two companies have long enjoyed a productive relationship, and we are very proud that Turner's networks will be included in our planned livestreaming service."
Hulu's other owners, Disney, Fox and NBCU, are also supporting the build-out of the live service including carriage of channels like ESPN, FX, USA and many others. For Comcast, there is the added risk of a loss of subscribers. Comcast, with 22 million video subscribers, is the nation's largest cable operator. In Q2 2016, the company lost 4,000 video subs after adding 53,000 in Q1 2016.
Currently Hulu has about 12 million subscribers. Netflix has more than 83 million members globally, while Amazon Prime, which includes a video service but does not publicly reveal a subscriber count, is estimated to have more than 54 million members.
Unlike Netflix and Amazon, Hulu launched as an ad-supported service and has nearly 2,000 advertisers partners, with subscribers paying $7.99 per month. Last September, it launched an ad-free option for $11.99 per month.