Hulu acquires more Jim Henson shows

McClatchy Newspapers


The online video service Hulu has added some energetic mop-top characters from Jim Henson Family shows, including the classic 1980s children’s television series, “Fraggle Rock.”

Hulu now has rights to 10 Henson children’s television shows, including “The Hoobs” and “Jim Henson’s Animal Show with Stinky and Jake.”

The Santa Monica, Calif., online venture will use the content to bolster its Hulu Kids corner, which is offered as part of its monthly Hulu Plus subscription service.

Commercial-free episodes of “Fraggle Rock” and the other Henson creations were made available to Hulu Plus subscribers beginning late last week.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hulu said it now boasts more Jim Henson Family titles than other video subscription services.

Children’s TV shows have become an increasingly important draw for parents who turn to online video services to provide commercial-free content to entertain their kids.

That has raised the stakes for Hulu Plus and rivals and Netflix to arrange exclusive deals and pay top dollar for rights to children’s TV shows.

In June, Viacom Inc. cemented a pact with to shift “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer” and other Nickelodeon children’s shows to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service rather than continue its relationship with Netflix.

The Viacom-Amazon deal was estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the multi-year contract.

Walt Disney Co. has structured a deal granting Netflix the streaming rights to Disney children’s shows.

Disney’s “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” and the animated “Tron: Uprising” are featured as part of Net- flix’s “Just for Kids” interface.

DreamWorks Animation separately is creating an original series for Netflix.

Hulu is a joint venture owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal.

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