Hulu Will Stream Tonight’s Democratic Debate to All Subscribers for Free

It's the first time the streaming service is offering a livestream option to all customers

Sign for Democratic presidential debates
CNN's live broadcast of the debate will be available to Hulu customers beginning at 7 p.m. EDT. CNN
Headshot of Kelsey Sutton

Tonight’s Democratic presidential debate is getting center stage on Hulu.

The streaming service and CNN have partnered to offer up a livestream of the debate to all Hulu’s subscribers for no additional charge, Hulu said. Any Hulu customer who has a subscription directly through Hulu will be able to access a livestream of CNN’s broadcast of the debate beginning at 7 p.m. EDT, in the Hulu Picks section of  Hulu’s app.

CNN’s pre- and post-debate programs will also be available for viewing via Hulu, the streaming service said.

The debate, which is being held at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, will feature 12 Democratic candidates, including front runners former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The candidates will take the stage beginning at 8 p.m. ET, and the debate is expected to last three hours.

The production is a joint effort from CNN and The New York Times, and New York Times national editor Marc Lacey will moderate the debate along with CNN anchors Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper.

For Hulu, livestreaming the debate is part of a test to see if viewers are interested in tuning into live events that hold particular national or cultural interest or importance. The company has previously tested out the livestream offering to a small percentage of its subscribers, including during the Women’s World Cup this summer and ABC News’ Democratic debate in September, to test the technical capabilities of the feature. This is the first time the livestream offering has been extended to all Hulu customers, Hulu said.

Hulu offers three tiers of service, which include an ad-supported video-on-demand (VOD) tier at $5.99 per month, an ad-free VOD tier at $11.99 a month and its most expensive tier, Hulu With Live TV, which adds live television viewing options and costs $44.99 a month. If the feature is popular among users, Hulu said it will consider offering certain live events to all of its customers in the future.

Tonight’s democratic debate, the fourth out of six Democratic debates scheduled for 2019, is also slated to air on CNN’s linear networks, and it will stream on the home pages of and CNN will also stream the debate live on several of CNN’s Facebook Pages, and the debate will be available on CNN and New York Times apps.

@kelseymsutton Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.