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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hulu Kids adds 'Fraggle Rock' and other Jim Henson Family shows

Hulu said Thursday it will offer "Fraggle Rock" and other Jim Henson Family shows on its Hulu Kids offering. Above, the Muppet cast of "Fraggle Rock." (Jim Henson Co.)

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 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 Thursday.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Hulu said it now boasts more Jim Henson Family titles than other video subscription service. 
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 andNetflix 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.
A month earlier, Walt Disney Co. structured a deal granting Netflix the streaming rights to popular Disney children'sshows.  Disney's "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" and the animated "Tron: Uprising" are featured as part of Netflix's "Just for Kids" interface.  DreamWorks Animation separately is creating an original animated series for Netflix.
Hulu is a joint venture owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox andComcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal.
In addition to the fuller library of Henson shows offered on Hulu Plus, Hulu said it also would place in a rotation five episodes from the Henson Family collection on the free, advertising supported
This library of content was made available to Hulu in conjunction with Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment, which distributes the Jim Henson Company's catalog in North America.

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