Streaming TV makes strange bedfellows. As HBO and Netflix Inc. continue their Cold War-style rivalry, two of their biggest respective competitors have decided to join forces in hopes of attracting even more cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Content from Showtime Networks Inc. will soon be available for Hulu subscribers, making Showtime the first premium cable network ever to be offered on Hulu, executives of the two companies said Tuesday.
Just in time for next month’s season premieres of “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex,” Hulu subscribers will be able to sign up for Showtime for $8.99 per month, gaining access to on-demand content and live feeds of the cable network. Les Moonves, chief executive of Showtime’s parent company, CBS Corp., had been promising a cable-free version of Showtime for months, and Showtime announced earlier this month that it would soon launch on Apple TV.
Now Hulu is getting in on the action, too. “We are always looking to give our subscribers access to the best content available,” Mike Hopkins, chief executive of Hulu, said in a statement.
The move further solidifies Hulu’s push to position itself as a key player in the streaming TV content race. At its upfront presentation to advertisers in May, the company touted a number of big-budget original series, including an adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling book “11/22/63.” It also announced that it gained the exclusive streaming rights to “Seinfeld,” one of the most enduring sitcoms on syndicated television.
Hulu has quite a bit of ground to cover if it wants to take on Netflix. The service has about 9 million subscribers, compared to more than 60 million subscribers for Netflix, a number that includes 20 million overseas subscribers. Hulu is only accessible within the United States and certain overseas U.S. military installations.
Showtime will be accessible on Hulu at some point in early July, and subscribers can get an early peak here. The new seasons of “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex” are slated to debut July 12.