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AT&T Hooks Up With Hulu

AT&T has joined a growing list of service providers that will distribute Hulu, the over-the-top subscription video service.

Through its deal with Hulu, AT&T said it intends to make the service available through AT&T’s network of websites and mobile applications.

AT&T didn’t specify a launch date, noting only that it will offer Hulu sometime “later this year,” noting that customers subscribing to the OTT service via AT&T will have access to all existing Hulu apps and be able to browse and search for Hulu content from within AT&T’s own apps, including its authenticated TV Everywhere app for the U-verse service.

AT&T and Hulu are “exploring the possibility of bringing a Hulu app to TV,” the companies said.

Update: An AT&T official said the deal will eventually apply to all AT&T customers, including U-verse customers, with Hulu incorporated into a future release of an AT&T-branded app.

AT&T said that the Hulu agreement complements AT&T’s over-the-top strategy, referencing, for example, Otter Media, the joint venture formed with The Chernin Group in 2014 that's focused on investing, acquiring and launching OTT services.

"We know that our customers want to be able to access video on multiple devices,” said Andrew Goodman, associate vice president, AT&T content acquisition. “So we’re excited to be able to expand our relationship with Hulu and make its innovative and vast video selections available to AT&T customers on multiple screens."

“At Hulu, we strive to create the best possible video experience for customers – offering them the ability to view their favorite content, when, where and how they want," added Tim Connolly, Hulu's senior vice president of partnerships and distribution. "We are excited to be working with AT&T to connect its customers with our premium content on every screen." 

Hulu has been busy on the deal front. Following its first announced MVPD deal with Cablevision Systems on April 28, Hulu followed up last week with distribution pacts with five more --  Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications and WideOpenWest (WOW!) .

Speaking at the INTX show in Chicago last week, Hulu’s Connolly said the focus of those MVPD agreements is to bring Hulu to the set-top box and offer a “holistic" environment that ties Hulu’s content together with cable operator’s on a unified interface.  He also confirmed that Hulu's MVPD partners will also get a share of Hulu's subscription revenue.

Joe Canavan, vice president of product management and sales at Atlantic Broadband, said in an interview (subscription required) that ABB plans to integrate the Hulu app on TiVo-powered boxes that the operator leases to pay TV customers. In addition to tying Hulu’s catalog into the platform’s search and discovery system, the operator also intends to offer some genre-based Hulu “channels,” such as one focused on kid’s programming, that deep-link the viewer to specific Hulu titles.