Following in the footsteps of HBO, Showtime has launched its own standalone streaming service in the US. Unlike HBO, however, the network is selling a bundle with an originally digital service, Hulu.
Hulu is currently offering a 30-day free trial of the new bundle, which includes Showtime’s standalone service for $8.99 per month in addition to Hulu’s usual monthly subscription cost at $7.99. This unique and truly unprecedented offering (it’s not like HBO and Netflix were ever about to get buddy-buddy) will make things easy for Hulu subscribers who are also looking to watch Showtime content by putting it all on the same platform.
The option is also cheaper—for people who already subscribe to Hulu, that is. The over-the-top Showtime service on its own is going for $10.99 per month, where subscribers can watch via Apple and Roku devices as well as PlayStation Vue. Showtime is also offering a 30-day free trial of the service, presumably to get people hooked on the content and willing to pay for the following months.
What is this content, anyway? Showtime includes popular series like “Homeland,” “Ray Donovan,” “Masters of Sex,” and “Dexter,” with cast members like Claire Danes, Live Schreiber, Lizzy Caplan, and Michael C. Hall (respectively). The network also broadcasts and distributes Floyd Mayweather’s boxing fights, including the epic Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight that took place this past May and the former’s upcoming fight in September. Movies, of course, are also a big part of the sell.
Perhaps most enticing for a lot of cord-free viewers, Showtime is also offering live TV with its OTT subscription. This is something many millennials, especially, are lacking with their cable-free viewing habits—they have all the content they could ever want, but they lack the element of truly lean-back viewing, in which a TV network can pick what comes on next instead of the viewer (though Netflix does automatically play something new every time viewers finish what they were watching).
As with HBO Now, which is pricier than Showtime’s standalone service at $14.99 per month, people will surely be trying to access this service from outside of the US. Meanwhile, Hulu is only available in the US and Japan, mainly because it’s difficult for the streaming service to clear rights for every show in each individual territory. Still, people outside of these countries have been accessing Hulu for a while, and they’ll likely be doing the same for its bundle with Showtime.