In the coming weeks, Hulu with Live TV is going to make it easier for people to cut the cord, at least for those who love content from the Public Broadcast Service and the Magnolia Network.
Magnolia Network will be the first to join the $70 per month core channel package for Hulu's cable TV alternative, when it arrives on May 25th. Previously exclusive to the "Entertainment Add-on," which costs $7.99 per month, Magnolia is a destination network for unscripted lifestyle programming focusing on home construction and renovation, as well as food.
Co-owners Chip and Joanna Gaines feature prominently in its biggest shows, such as Magnolia Table. Magnolia's also available on Fubo, Sling TV and DirecTV Stream, but all make you pay more to get it. YouTube TV doesn't even have Magnolia.
Just as big is the news that local PBS networks will be available to "more than 300 markets and cities across the country" on Hulu + Live TV's base plan. These affiliates will arrive "in the coming months," and to be completed by the end of 2023. This is huge for cord-cutters, as PBS' availability inside of the best cable TV alternatives is scattershot.
Only YouTube TV offers PBS networks in their package, while the PBS app allows for live and select on-demand content on Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Android TV and iOS. This will help Hulu even the score in our YouTube TV vs Hulu + Live TV face-off.
The third major channel coming to the base plan is PBS Kids, which features educational and entertaining programming for younger audiences, such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Alma’s Way and Wild Kratts.
Analysis: I know of at least one household that will like this news
My parents have held out on cutting the cord, despite all of my pleas and explanations. This is because PBS and the Magnolia Network were two of their must-have channels, and until now they weren't available on the same service.
They also want BBC networks, which Hulu doesn't have, so this might not be enough — but as long as the best cable TV alternatives can keep adding channels (while keeping their prices the same), they have a good shot at chipping away at cable's eroding customer base.
And Hulu knows that these channels may be the reason why some holdouts have yet to make the leap. In a press release, Reagan Feeney, SVP of Live TV Content Programming and Partnerships for Hulu is quoted as saying "PBS, PBS Kids and Magnolia Network are among the most frequently requested channels by our subscribers and we’re thrilled to add them to our core line-up that now includes more than 90 live channels."