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Hulu inks deal with BBC for 144 shows, including 'Doctor Who'

Deal is the video-streaming service's largest content acquisition since taking itself off the auction block in July, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"Doctor Who" is just one of the BBC Worldwide shows to which Hulu will get access in the first year of the pact.
BBC Worldwide

After languishing for months on the sales block, Hulu is turning its attention back to content acquisition.

Hulu has inked a deal with BBC Worldwide North America that will deliver 144 titles to the video-streaming service in the first year of the deal, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some of the shows included in the deal are popular programs "Doctor Who," "Torchwood," and "Sherlock."

While the deal is characterized as Hulu's largest since exiting the auction block in July, the streaming service recently announced a tie-up with Lionsgate to produce 10 episodes of "Deadbeat," a comedy about a medium who helps New York's ghosts, for its 2014 lineup.

After entertaining bids from potential suitors that included DirecTV, Hulu's owners -- 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, and Walt Disney -- took the site off the market and announced a cash infusion of $750 million "in order to propel future growth."

While a positive step for Hulu, as the Journal notes the deal it is not exclusive; BBC Worldwide has similar arrangements with Netflix and Amazon. But Hulu is focused on increasing its current stable of original programming from its current 5 percent of viewing to as much as 15 percent in coming years.

That is considered key for Hulu, which is battling the likes of Amazon and Netflix for original and exclusive content. Amazon has its own studio and signed an exclusive contract for several seasons of the PBS hit "Downton Abbey," while Netflix's original series "House of Cards" surprised the TV industry with 14 Emmy nominations.