Commentary

May The Best Skinny Bundle Rule

Who is it that wants to keep a fully cable package? With two new skinny bundles on the way — one from Hulu and the other from DirecTV — the less-is-more future is coming soon, with channels from 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney in the package.

Of course. Fox and Disney are two of Hulu’s owners, so their presence was totally expected. Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting channels will also being baked in for the same reason: Time Warner also owns 10% share of Hulu.

All told, Hulu will present 35 cable live and on-demand channels, starting early in 2017.

Comcast, the third owner, is said to be negotiating. CBS, with itself owns the CBS All Access pay service, is not on the Hulu system. But it wouldn’t be surprising if CBS gets into the action, if everybody else.

The deals with Disney and 21st Century Fox cover broadcast networks Fox and ABC, including live streams of their owned-and-operated TV stations, Fox Sports networks, such as the Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and BTN; ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and ESPN 3; Fox regional sports networks across dozens of markets; Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior; Fox News and Fox Business; Freeform; FX, FXX and FXM, and National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild.

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The Turner channels covers Turner networks, including TBS, TNS, CNN, Turner Classic Movies.

DirecTV’s link up with AT&T will also lead to its own skinny bundle, though not as skinny as the Hulu configurat. DirecTV expects 100 channels. And Website Fierce Cable says AT&T is ready go into business without CBS and Fox participation.

There are other skinny bundles, so many that cable’s bundle and triple play “deals” will almost certainly take a hit.

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