The one advantage Hulu has over the majority of its streaming competitors is the offer of next-day streaming for certain programming. That may be going away, however, according to a new report out of the Wall Street Journal.
Time Warner is reportedly looking to buy 25 percent of Hulu's stock in an attempt to prevent the service from being able to stream current seasons of network and premium television. The company is concerned that having access to next-day streaming will only accelerate cord-cutting across the country.
Cord-cutting has become a viable option for many consumers, especially with services like Hulu and Netflix available on devices like the Roku or Apple TV.
While some networks have embraced the turn to digital and streaming, like CBS launching CBS All Access and HBO offering HBO Go to subscribers, others are still fighting for the channel bundling services available through traditional cable.
Cutting off Hulu's access to next-day streaming wouldn't necessarily be catastrophic for the company, which boasts 10 million subscribers, but it would certainly drive numbers down a bit.
Hulu's biggest competitor, Netflix, does not currently offer next-day streaming for shows within the United States (Better Call Saul episodes will appear the day after they air for international subscribers, for example), and it's the one major advantage Hulu has over the streaming service.
Netflix currently has approximately 75 million subscribers with numbers growing exponentially with each new quarter, according to letters released to investors from the company. In order to stay on top, Netflix has invested $6 billion into original programming and acquiring the rights to older television shows, including Full House and Gilmore Girls.
If Hulu were to lose its next-day streaming availability, the next course of action to attract new viewers would be to invest in more original series so it could compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The streaming service has a few original series already, including the Golden Globe nominated Casual, but nothing that could stand against a giant like Netflix and win.
The other potential avenue Time Warner could go down would be including Hulu subscriptions in a bundle package for cable subscribers. This would allow the company to monetize both its traditional television packages and the new wave of online streaming without having to set up more independent streaming services for individual channels (Time Warner owns HBO and therefore owns HBO Go).
As of right now, the potential sale is still in its preliminary discussion stage, and no official offer has been made.
Polygon has reached out to both Time Warner and Hulu for comment and will update as more information becomes available.