Brace Yourself for a Different Hulu

Rumors are beginning to swirl that Hulu CEO Jason Kilar is leaving (unsure if he’s being forced out or leaving on his own) and that drastic changes to the service are coming.

The bigger news in the Variety story is the rest of the stuff in the memo, which is about the future of Hulu itself, regardless of who runs it.

In short, it paints a picture of a site and service that will operate much differently than the one that launched in 2008. Instead of being the Web’s primary place to see TV shows from Fox, NBC, and ABC, Hulu will now be one place among many where you can see some of that stuff. With certain restrictions. (News Corp., which owns Fox, also owns this Web site.)

There are a bunch of reasons for that, but the basic one is that it’s not 2008 anymore. That means Hulu’s owners are no longer as terrified of Google and YouTube as they once were, so it’s less important to them to have a single portal as leverage in negotiations. And Hulu’s owners are most interested in getting cable-carriage fees for their programming, which means they’re much less interested in giving them away for free, without restrictions, on Hulu.

It sounds bad for Hulu, but great for Netflix.

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