AT&T will sell Hulu subscriptions, but not to watch on your TV

Hulu's push to put its content in front of cable TV customers has a new partner: AT&T. The streaming service already teamed up with Cablevision, and also announced it's working with several smaller cable providers to put Hulu on their customer's TiVo DVRs. While we're still not sure how the Cablevision deal will work, the situation with AT&T (which tried to buy Hulu) is clear: this isn't plugging into U-Verse TV boxes, and you will need a $7.99 subscription to make it work. As shown in the picture above, the two already have a partnership to put some of Hulu's free shows on the AT&T site, so this will expand that to include stuff people will need to pay extra for. While the two are "exploring a possibility" of bringing a Hulu app to TV, when they launch later this year AT&T customers will be able to browse the catalog via a mobile app or on the web.

Of course, you can already get Hulu via web, mobile and connected TV apps, so why is it setting up all of these deals? The idea here is about getting its subscription in front of as many potential customers as possible, while adding more content for viewers who are already paying for TV and watching commercials.

With Netflix millions of customers ahead and already owning mindshare with its original content, Hulu needs a different approach to expose what it has, including current-season TV shows, The Criterion Collection, Seinfeld and a growing slate of original series. In the distant past (2011) customers couldn't get Hulu or Netflix on cable-provided DVRs, even for TiVos which already supported the apps. These are different times, and as TV companies see more customers spending time watch TV streamed from the internet, they'll be looking for a way to get a piece of that action.