updated 05:20 pm EDT, Sat October 12, 2013
Hulu preparing to name new CEO
Hulu has reportedly been in discussions with Fox executive Mike Hopkins, with the aim of naming Hopkins as the streaming service's new chief executive. On Friday, reports emerged from Bloomberg that claimed the announcement of Hopkins' appointment is imminent. Fox is both a major broadcaster and one of the controlling parties of Hulu, so Hopkins' appointment could mean even closer ties to the broadcasters, as well as a possible resolution of the strained relationship between the media companies and the streaming service they created and control.
Hopkins, a Hulu board member, currently oversees Fox's programming fee collection system, and he has experience in securing distribution for startup networks. Sources familiar with the matter say that Hopkins' tenure as Hulu CEO will focus on building pay-TV fees to complement Hulu's advertising and subscriber revenue.
Hulu currently has more than four million subscribers paying $8 per month into its coffers for Hulu Plus, a premium service that provides access to more content than the free Hulu. The free Hulu, though, sees 30 million unique visitors per month, and those viewers must watch ads along with their desired content.
Despite its popularity, Hulu has had a strained relationship with its broadcast parents. Disney and Fox had hoped to sell Hulu up until July, when the two companies, along with Comcast and NBCUniversal, decided to increase investment in Hulu's technology and content offerings with a $750 million cash infusion. Prior to that, a number of companies had attempted to buy the service, including DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T.
Industry insiders have expressed confidence in Hopkins' potential as the incoming CEO, saying he is well suited to the task of making the streaming portal attractive to premium content providers. Bloomberg's report on the matter does not establish a time frame for Hopkins' appointment, but it will reportedly happen shortly, according to sources familiar with the talks.