updated 12:50 pm EST, Tue January 31, 2012
Hulu CEO careful not to commit to or deny Apple TV
Hulu chief Jason Kilar used careful language in an interview at the D: Dive Into Media conference when discussing major content deals. He wouldn't confirm or deny any talks to bring Hulu Plus to the Apple TV. The executive was aware it was a potentially loaded question and denied it twice when pressed.
"It's a juicy question," Kilar said. "I don't have a juicy answer. We don't talk about our product roadmap."
Whether or not Apple would even consider Hulu Plus has been up for debate. It has been willing to load Netflix despite its competition with iTunes, but Hulu would be entering an area where iTunes has more clout and thus where excluding it had a chance of preserving Apple's own stake. Its main concerns may simply be competition from many TV designers and from media hub alternatives like Roku or the Xbox 360 that have Hulu Plus access Apple lacks.
Kilar was mostly of the same mind when discussing the abandoned sell-off process. He wouldn't admit to Yahoo's involvement as the likely original mystery bidder. Regardless of prospective buyers, he would only say that the sale process ended because "things change," but that it "wasn't salacious" or the result of some large fallout.
When asked why a sale had been considered in the first place, he deferred to News Corp.'s COO Chase Carey. "You should ask News Corp.’s Chase this [when he's on stage]," Kilar said.
The founder was more candid with the balance between traditional and new media. He claimed to understand the dilemma had led to traditional providers intentionally shielding content and the need to move forward. Hulu was seen as a challenge to traditional TV the way TV was allegedly a threat to movies, he said. The CEO was aware of the artificial restrictions put on watching the free service, which keep it away from anything TV-like, and hinted it might eventually change.
"The distinction might be confusing to our grandkids down the road," he concurred. "There’s no doubt there is this transition happening."