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Hulu could lose its biggest advantage over Netflix if Time Warner has its way

Hulu Current Season Streaming

If there’s one reason to subscribe to Hulu over Netflix, it’s the ability to watch the latest episode of a TV show just hours after it airs. Streaming current seasons of shows has been one of Hulu’s biggest draws from the outset, but as talks are heating up between Hulu and Time Warner, the future of current-season streaming could be on the line.

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According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Time Warner is closer than ever to buying into Hulu and becoming a part-owner of the service. Time Warner clearly has an appreciation for the popularity and utility of the service, but it also sees current-season streaming as a threat to the traditional pay-TV model.

Those familiar with the matter say that Time Warner has already made this clear to Hulu’s owners, but current seasons aren’t going anywhere yet. That said, sources also claim that Hulu leadership “for months have delayed finalizing the agreement that governs how they license current seasons to Hulu, as they debated the issue.”

Hulu’s reliance on current seasons has dwindled as it invests more heavily in original content like Casual and Difficult People, as well as older shows like Seinfeld, but analysts still believe fresh licensed content is a major part of the service’s appeal.

If the deal does come to fruition and Time Warner ends up paying $2 billion for a 25% stake in Hulu, it seems likely that the current-season model will be killed off as quickly as possible.

Hopefully that doesn’t end up killing Hulu altogether.

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.