Hulu has had a tumultuous 2013, as it lost founding CEO Jason Kilar in January, then went through the sale process, again, before sticking with its original owners, again. Confirming last week's rumors from Bloomberg and Reuters, the new CEO is Mike Hopkins, most recently head of distribution for Fox. He replaces acting CEO Andy Forssell, who took the wheel in March after Kilar's departure. In his introductory letter to the team, Hopkins mentioned Hulu expects "close to a billion dollars" in revenue this year, along with a rising number of Hulu Plus subscribers.
Part-owners Disney and News Corp (Comcast retains a stake after its purchase of NBC Universal, but can't vote) reportedly disagreed on the site's future, with Disney preferring an advertising-based approach. Appointing Hopkins as the new leader suggests News Corp's reported focus on subscriptions is taking priority, and there's speculation that Hulu will become more deeply involved in TV Everywhere authenticated viewing based on cable and satellite TV subscriptions. Hulu has long pitched itself as complementary to cable, we'll see if its apps end up looking more like the BTN2GO and Fox Now apps that Hopkins' team at Fox worked on.
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Mike Hopkins Named CEO of Hulu
October 17, 2013 03:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Hulu Board of Directors today named Mike Hopkins the Company's new CEO. Hopkins, a Hulu Board Director since 2011, has served as President of Distribution for Fox Networks Group, a division of 21st Century Fox, since 2008. Mr. Hopkins will be based at Hulu's headquarters in Los Angeles, and his appointment is effective immediately.
Andy Forssell, who has served as acting CEO since March 2013, will be leaving the Company.
"After an extensive search, Mike was simply the best candidate for the job. He has a strong understanding of programming, digital distribution and consumer behavior, and a great vision for Hulu's next chapter," said Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group.
"On behalf of the Hulu board I want to thank Andy Forssell for his leadership during this past year, and for the vital role he played in building Hulu into the amazing product it is today. We wish him the best on his next venture," said Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. "With Mike's appointment, and its owners fully aligned and committed to seizing the incredible opportunities that lie ahead, we look forward to a very bright future for Hulu."
Mike Hopkins commented: "The team at Hulu has created a beloved user experience that feeds the undeniable need for quality, convenience and ease of use. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with this dynamic, innovative team. I want to thank the folks at Disney and Fox, especially Anne Sweeney and Peter Rice, for this amazing opportunity. I'm looking forward to working with our creative partners, advertisers and distributors as we continue to build Hulu."
A media veteran with an accomplished track record of both building innovative television products and negotiating landmark distribution agreements, Mr. Hopkins brings more than 20 years of video experience to Hulu. While President of Distribution for Fox Networks, he oversaw the distribution strategy, sales and marketing for Fox's 45 linear and non-linear U.S. channels, as well as on-demand and digital extensions. Mr. Hopkins' team also developed many of the television industry's leading authenticated and digital video products, including BTN2GO and Fox Now.
Hulu is an online TV service whose mission is to help people find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how they want it. As we pursue this mission, we aspire to create a service that users, advertisers and content owners unabashedly love. (www.hulu.com).