Hulu Handmaid

Report: FOX & Disney Lose $162 Million on Hulu’s Live TV Beta


So far this month two of Hulu’s owners announced they plan to take a tax write off for losses on Hulu this year.

On November 9, 2017, Disney announced they expect to lose an additional $100 million next year on Hulu. Most of this is reportedly due to increased costs from the launch of Hulu’s live TV streaming service. According to reports, 70% of the loss will be taken in the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year.

Disney is not alone in losing money because FOX reported a loss of $62 million on Hulu this month related to their 30% ownership of Hulu.

Now while that sounds bad, losses like this are normal when new companies launch or old ones launch new services. New equipment is needed and the cost to build the platform all comes before you sign up a single new customer. Let’s not forget the cost of an aggressive marketing campaign.

There are also other costs including content and the expense of negotiating contracts with networks to offer live TV.

Yet there is good news here. According to Disney’s CEO Bob Iger Hulu’s live TV investment is paying off. “We’ve seen some nice numbers there. It will be a significantly valuable business for us,” said Iger.

It is likely that other live TV streaming services also saw similar losses at their launch. Though with Hulu’s ownership being split between Disney, FOX, Comcast, and Time Warner makes these losses more visible.

Source: Home Media Magazine 

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  • Scott Morris

    I tried this Hulu Live TV when it came out and found that the frame rate was too slow to watch sports…like 30 fps. I’ve found that Playstation Vue’s frame rate was much better…much like OTA so they must be hitting 60 fps.

  • Karl Childers

    Hulu really is offering a mixed bag of services with their live tv. If you subscribe to Hulu with commercials then adding live tv is probably a good way to expand their on-demand library and gain the ability to watch live programming when desired. However having Hulu’s commercial-free plan and adding Live TV is sort of like attaching a mobile home to a house in order to add living space. You get “more” but the finished product is awkward and doesn’t really fit together. The on-demand from the live tv channels has commercials so it can be annoying if you are accustomed to watching their commercial-free content.

    I’d gladly pay for a commercial-free “Hulu Plus” which includes same or next-day content from popular cable channels. If they really want to be in the live tv business then they should focus on programming that actually requires a live feed such as news, sports, or live events. It would certainly be a lot more manageable to have a “live tv” section of actual live content versus feeds of a bunch of cable channels that fill the day with reruns so they can have more advertising slots.

    • Joe in Virginia

      That is not 100% correct. If you have live tv, you can watch most of the on-demand stuff with no commercials. That’s how it works for me. I have the no commercial plan and also the expanded cloud DVR. I’m not sure which one it is (or a combination of the two), but when I watch things on-demand (not recorded) there are very rarely commercials at all.

      I know I’m a little biased – I love the new Hulu service. It gives me exactly what I want: a service that focuses on content, not channels. It gives you a library of pretty much anything on-demand, but it also gives you a live stream if you want that too.

      • Karl Childers

        From the Hulu website:

        You can also include the No Commercials option as part of your Hulu with Live TV plan. However, please note that this option only applies to the ads included in the Hulu on-demand library, and will not impact the commercials you see during live TV, videos recorded to your Cloud DVR, or the additional on-demand shows and movies made available by the networks as part of our live TV service.

  • Brian @chatlegion.com

    As a cord cutter, I tried Hulu Live Premium whatever they call it. That’s just it, it’s confusing. There is Hulu, then there is Hulu with no commercials, then there is Hulu Live TV, then you can get Live TV with regular Hulu subscription added on. I give up. Shouldn’t be this hard, not to mention the interface is terrible and not that many channels. I’ll continue to stick with PS Vue with a Side of DirecTV Now when I get bored.

    • Mike Thaler

      The idea is CHOICES. I know having too many choices can be confusing – like going to the ice cream place w. 30+ choices.

      • Brian Grammer

        With their extensive On Demand services (that are included with the Live TV Beta, unlike what the poster above stated), the 50 hours of DVR storage that come with it are more than enough.

  • mojozulu

    They just don’t get it cutters are wanting to cut cost!

  • DonJ1973

    and isn’t Hulu Live still in beta? Once it gets into full functionality, won’t there still be more costs to help promote it and market it?