tablet videoIt seems like every week lately there has been an announcement of a multi-play service provider adding an OTT video subscription service to its offerings. The latest such news comes today from AT&T, which said it has made a deal to bring the Hulu subscription streaming service to AT&T customers later this year.

For now the deal doesn’t include putting Hulu on AT&T’s U-Verse platform. Instead the deal appears more mobile-focused, with customers gaining the ability to watch Hulu programs on mobile devices through an AT&T app. Customers also can watch on AT&T’s website over a broadband connection. But the announcement also notes that AT&T and Hulu are “exploring the possibility of bringing a Hulu app to TV.”

Customers apparently don’t need to subscribe to AT&T’s U-verse video service to get the AT&T Hulu offering.

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Hulu offers current and past episodes of television programming from a wide range of networks including ABC, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, NBC, Nickelodeon and TNT as well as classic films and a library of original Hulu programming.

AT&T-Hulu Not an Isolated Deal
This is not the first deal of this sort for AT&T or for Hulu. Hulu recently inked its first pay-TV distribution deal with Cablevision, and added several similar deals shortly thereafter. And an AT&T spokeswoman noted that AT&T already has a deal with Amazon that makes that company’s OTT video offering available to U-verse video and broadband customers.

Hulu competitor Netflix also has been striking similar deals, including multiple partnerships with cable MSOs like Atlantic Broadband and Mediacom.

Now that pay TV providers have taken the plunge on OTT video, the focus increasingly will be on how to differentiate those offerings and make them more user-friendly. The fact that AT&T offers both mobile and broadband service could be a differentiator moving forward.

Integrating OTT video interfaces with existing programming guides, search engines and the like also is likely to be an important area for potential differentiation.

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