Attention, cord cutters: TV-streaming site Hulu and premium cable network Showtime have a deal for you.
Next month, Hulu will offer a bundle combining its own subscription service plus an online Showtime membership -- to watch the channel's new shows as soon as they air as well as past series, movies, sports and documentaries -- for $17 a month, less than it would cost to get both separately.
Hulu also will run a 30-day free trial related to the partnership.
Ahead of new seasons of "Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex," Showtime is launching its own purely online subscription service for $11 a month separately. Hulu's paid membership, which lets viewers watch its content on mobile devices and access some shows right after they're broadcast, has a standard price of $8 a month, meaning the bundle will save subscribers $2.
The partnership between Hulu and Showtime is the latest in a trend of traditional TV companies choosing to launch direct-to-consumer online channels. After years of resistance, companies such as HBO, CBS, Nickelodeon and Dish are offering services that stream their live programming online. Though the new options could undermine their main business of reaching viewers via a pricey package from cable companies and other providers, the programmers are loosening the reins as they grow anxious that today's young consumers won't sign up for in big, expensive TV contracts when they become the heads of their own households.
Their deal benefits Hulu by bringing in an esteemed brand of popular television onto its service, making it more attractive to potential subscribers. It benefits Showtime by instantly getting it on a wide swath of devices, handling all the distribution grunt work Hulu has already accomplished.
The partnership also has a quirky facet behind the scenes. Hulu is owned by traditional TV giants Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast, through its NBC Universal arm -- essentially, three of the four main broadcast companies. The only outlier is CBS...which is the company that owns Showtime. (CBS is also the parent company of CNET.)
"We're excited to be the first premium service available to Hulu's growing subscriber base and look forward to offering their customers our award-winningoriginal programming, films and documentaries across almost every device," said Matthew C. Blank, chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks.
Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said his service is "always looking to give our subscribers access to the best content available."
"The robust slate of Showtime original programming, movies, and specials together with Hulu's strength in current season programming, library acquisitions and original programming makes a powerful combination," he said.