CBS Corporation said on Monday that it has signed a non-exclusive, multi-year licensing agreement with Hulu to stream programs from the network's library of TV programming to Hulu Plus subscribers. The CBS content will begin to appear on January 2013.
"Hulu Plus subscribers will have access to more than 2,600 episodes from library series such as 'Medium', 'Numb3rs' and 'CSI: Miami', as well as classics such as 'Star Trek', 'I Love Lucy' and 'The Twilight Zone'," the company said. "Clips from Entertainment Tonight will also be available the day of broadcast on Hulu and Hulu Plus. A selection of CBS library shows will also rotate through the free Hulu.com service, and additional titles will be announced."
CBS and Hulu also have previously announced licensing agreements for CBS-produced programming that airs on The CW and for CBS content on Hulu’s subscription service in Japan.
News of the CBS deal arrives after private-equity group Providence Equity Partners Inc. sold its 10-percent stake in Los Angeles-based Hulu back in October. Hulu reportedly borrowed $200 million to fund the repurchase while Hulu CEO Jason Kilar received around $40 million USD. Providence's original investment was $100 million USD.
Comcast's NBC Universal, News Corp and Providence Equity Partners started Hulu back in 2007. Disney (ABC) then came along and acquired a stake in the video-streaming company in April 2009. Feeling the heat of Netflix, Hulu launched original and exclusive content back in May, just one month after announcing that it had reached the 2 million subscriber mark.
"The original Hulu service continues to ramp aggressively both in users and content while Hulu Plus, our U.S. subscription service, passed more than 2 million paid subscribers in Q1 of this year," the company said. "Based on our research, Hulu Plus has achieved 2 million paying subscribers faster than any video subscription service – online or offline – in U.S. history."
Why? Probably because new episodes typically appear on Hulu Plus just days after their original air date, unlike Netflix. Thus Hulu Plus subscribers don't need a DVR unless the show isn't offered through the subscription-based model. But now with the CBS library in its arsenal, Hulu looks to secure its place as the dominant streaming TV service, and extinguish any fears that the company is staggering due to rivals like Netflix and cable-based streaming services.
"This marks another agreement that meets the growing demand for our content on new platforms while establishing other incremental ways to get paid for our library," said Scott Koondel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Licensing, CBS Corporation.