Hulu and CBS announced Monday that they partnered to bring more than 2,600 episodes of CBS shows like Medium, Numbers and CSI:Miami to the video service. However, there are two big caveats: all of the shows are from CBS’s previous-season catalog, meaning that you won’t get next-day access to your favorite CBS shows on Hulu.
Also, most of the content will be exclusive to paying Hulu Plus subscribers, and not available for free on Hulu.com. Hulu’s SVP of Content Andy Forssell explained it on Hulu’s blog this way:
“A selection of CBS library shows will also rotate through the free Hulu.com service and we will continue to announce additional titles on a rolling basis.”
CBS had been the lone hold-out among the big four broadcasters. NBC and Fox co-founded the service and have been supplying their shows since the beginning. ABC joined in a little later, but also took a stake in the company. The partnership with CBS on the other hand is a pure licensing deal, with no equity involved.
The other notable difference is that ABC, NBC and Fox all provide their shows soon after air time to the free, ad-supported Hulu.com offering, with paying subscribers getting added benefits like the ability to watch the content on mobile and connected devices as well as having access to whole seasons of shows. Of course, it’s worth noting that CBS isn’t the only one who’d like to see a bigger focus on paid content at Hulu. There has long been talk about Hulu’s parents pushing for a bigger focus on paying and authenticated viewers.
Hulu previously partnered with CBS for its Hulu Japan subscription service, and CBS was also part of a deal between Hulu and teen broadcaster the CW.