Hulu Adds NBC Network, Kardashians to Its Live Online TV Service

(Bloomberg) -- Hulu added Comcast Corp.’s NBC and E! channels to its forthcoming live TV service, securing popular programming like “Sunday Night Football,” “Mr. Robot” and “Keeping up with Kardashians” ahead of the product’s debut in the coming weeks.

With the agreement announced Monday, Hulu will be able to offer more than 50 channels, including all four major broadcast networks, as well as ESPN and FX, and has now reached accords with all four of its owners -- Comcast, 21st Century Fox Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc.

Founded as a way for people to catch up on last night’s TV, Hulu is now trying to combine a live TV service with its vast library of on-demand programming and its own originals. The company could introduce the service as soon as this week, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. The deal with NBC includes more than 10 of the company’s TV networks, including USA and MSNBC.

“NBC Universal is home to many of today’s leading sports, news, entertainment and lifestyle networks -- brands that not only draw large audiences but also drive pop culture,” Hulu Chief Executive Officer Mike Hopkins said in a statement. “With this agreement in place, Hulu will soon provide an affordable, complete live TV package that includes all four major broadcast networks, the top-rated cable news channels, a massive sports offering and our deep existing premium streaming library for under $40.”

Thanks to popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, most U.S. residents watch less live TV and more on demand. But at least a half dozen companies, including Hulu, DirecTV, Dish Network Corp., Sony Corp. and YouTube are convinced they can lure people back to live TV packages by offering a slimmer selection of channels at a lower cost than the average cable package. They’ve also all tried to improve upon the presentation of on-demand programs.