PBS inks vMVPD deal with Hulu as local, kids channels join live TV lineup

PBS content is coming to Hulu’s live TV streaming service, marking an expanded programming lineup for the virtual MVPD and a broader digital distribution foothold for the programmer.

Under the new deal channels joining Hulu + Live TV include PBS Kids as well as local PBS stations that reach audiences in more than 300 markets and cities across the country.  Local PBS stations will start streaming on the Hulu vMVPD over the next few months with a full launch wrapped up by the end of the year.

With the new additions Hulu + Live TV users will have access to locally-produced shows, educational series and popular content such as the PBS Newshour, Frontline, Antiques Roadshow, Great Performances and Masterpiece.

PBS already counts distribution on Allen Media Group’s Local Now streaming platform under a December deal that brought live feeds of PBS member stations across the country to the FAST service. While Local Now marked the first non-PBS owned and operated streaming platform to offer PBS programming from member stations, Hulu represents wider reach, with 4.5 million subscribers to the live TV service as of Q4 2022.

“We are thrilled that one of the largest live TV streaming services is now home to quality local programming from PBS Member Stations,” said PBS Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, Ira Rubenstein, in a statement.  Rubenstein went on to emphasize PBS’ focus on expanding distribution of its content to reach audiences through a variety of platforms in the face of cord cutting.

“As more and more households look to digital streaming offerings, this announcement is part of our commitment to meet audiences where they are with the PBS programming they know and love,” Rubenstein continued. “PBS will continue to make trusted content available to all households across as many platforms as possible.”

In addition to PBS, Hulu + Live TV is also adding Magnolia Network as a core channel beginning May 25.

Hulu’s live TV option now boasts more than 90 channels across sports, national and local news and entertainment. For a price of $70 per month users also get on-demand content, access to Disney+ and ESPN+ and features like unlimited DVR.

According to Reagan Feeney, SVP of Live TV Content Programming and Partnerships for Hulu, the new content additions are some of Hulu’s most-asked for.

“As one of the largest live TV streaming services in the U.S., we are committed to providing a best in class user experience and a premium national and local channel lineup for our millions of subscribers,” said Feeney in a statement. “PBS, PBS Kids and Magnolia Network are among the most frequently requested channels by our subscribers and we’re thrilled to add them to our core line-up that now includes more than 90 live channels.”

Hulu + Live TV this week also reached terms for a new multi-year distribution agreement with Nexstar Media. That deal covers 122 of the broadcaster’s local TV stations, MyNetwork TV affiliates and independent stations, as well as carriage of Nexstar’s cable news network NewsNation.