Hulu will increase the price of its online cable TV alternative product Hulu Live by $10 to $55 a month, the latest sign providers are having trouble making money on discounted packages of channels that rival cable.
Hulu Live, which offers about 60 channels such as ESPN and CNN, was first introduced two years ago. The price increase takes effect Dec. 18, the company said in a statement.
So-called skinny bundles — cheaper online alternatives to cable packages — have struggled recently as budget-conscious consumers seem more willing to just cut out traditional cable networks entirely. Sony Corp. is shutting down its offering, PlayStation Vue, in January.
AT&T Inc., meanwhile, raised the price of its AT&T TV Now service by $15 to $65 a month in October.
MoffettNathanson said in a note Friday that "the wheels are already falling off" the online live-TV business. But Hulu Live is now the leader in the troubled category, with 2.7 million subscribers. That puts it ahead of the market's pioneer, Dish Network Corp.'s Sling TV.
While live sports and news are still draws, consumers don’t seem to care about watching other TV shows live — a trend that benefits streaming services such as Netflix — according to MoffettNathanson.
Hulu, which is majority-owned by the Walt Disney Co., said it will continue to evaluate other more tailored live TV options for consumers. It's one of the rare bundles that also includes a streaming service, Hulu's original offering, as part of its package.
Hulu — along with ESPN+ and a new service, Disney+, which launched this week — is a key part of Disney’s three-pronged approach to the streaming business. Last week, Disney said it would add programs from its FX channel to Hulu almost immediately after they air on cable.