Liz Gannes

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Hulu’s Jason Kilar: We — And I — Are Here for the Long Haul

“I think there’s more reason for Hulu to exist now than four and a half years ago,” said Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, who was amiable but guarded in an interview on stage at D: Dive Into Media this morning.

Asked about last year’s failed Hulu sales effort and expectations he would move on, Kilar said he sees “many winners” among Hulu and competitors like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Apple. “Online video and online video advertising are enormous,” he said.

Last year’s aborted sales effort, Kilar said, was “far more public than I would have liked. I’m a private guy.” Is he surprised he’s still at Hulu? “I’m not.”

Will he be leaving Hulu any time soon? Kilar urged watchers to look at his history, which includes two employers — Amazon and Hulu — since graduating school. “I’m not the kind of guy who dabbles in a lot of things,” he said. “Just judge me on my history, and the team on the history.”

As for the economics of Hulu, Kilar noted (as he has before) that the company made $420 million last year, which was 60 percent more than 2010, but less than the company had expected after a “soft” third quarter.

Hulu Plus, which Kilar described as being in “investment mode,” pays content owners more per user per month than any of its competitors, Kilar said. “The dollars going back to content owners on Hulu Plus are extremely generous.”

Kilar downplayed content negotiations with News Corp., NBC and Disney, the large media companies who own significant parts of Hulu. “Keep in mind we have 330 content partners, three of which we have an equity relationship with,” he said. (News Corp. also owns this Web site.)

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