Holding on to Hulu and moving forward was all about relationships said Chase Carey today. “I think it is really a case where we’ve always known the importance of these digital platforms and the opportunity specifically in Hulu. I think the real question is partnerships are complicated and can we get the right strategy that we both believe we can execute to be successful,” said the 21st Century Fox COO Tuesday about working with co-owners Disney and Comcast. Carey was speaking on a conference call Tuesday after the company released its Q4 results. He was joined by Deputy COO James Murdoch and CFO John Nallen. “As we went through this process we really found that of all the constituencies coalesced around a vision of how to really build this and how it can be something exciting for content owners and something exciting for the digital marketplace,” he added. After weeks of speculation that Hulu would be sold, 21st Century Fox, Disney and Comcast announced on July 12 that they would keep the company and supply $750 million to push it’s growth.
Hulu came to the press tour today to preach New Model and show off some of its new programming. TV critics showed up in dribs and drabs. Those who came stuck around until the final session — but that’s only because it included Seth Meyers and they wanted to ask him about — NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This morning, Hulu was pitching:
*The Wrong Mans – a comedy/thriller from James Corden and Matthew Baynton about two lowly office workers who become caught in a deadly criminal conspiracy when one of them finds a ringing cell phone at the scene of a horrific car crash.
*Behind The Mask – a documentary about sports mascots.
*Quickdraw — a half hour Western/CSI spoof about a Harvard-educated sheriff trying to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town in the late 19th century.
Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers came to TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 this morning to plug Hulu’s first original animated comedy The Awesomes, which he co-created with Late Night With Jimmy Fallon EP Michael Shoemaker. The new series, produced by Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, is about the greatest superhero team in history — after its A-listers bail and it has to re-staff with reject superheroes. You’ll recognize voices of SNL cast and alums including Kenan Thompson, Bill Hader, Emily Spivey, Bobby Moynihan, Taran Killam, Rachel Dratch, and Paula Pell. Meyers, who will remain on SNL through the fall season (Fallon’s scheduled to replace Jay Leno on Tonight Show following the Winter Olympics in February) was asked how he’s juggling three gigs. “We’re in the very early stages on Late Night. More than anything else we’re staffing — we know how important it is to put together a strong staff of writers. I’ll go back to SNL in the fall and work there up until Late Night [debuts]. The nice thing about The Awesomes is that we’re pretty much through with the work on it, thankfully, because there’s going to be less and less time.”
The companies couldn’t agree on a price, Reuters reports citing information from “two people with knowledge of the negotiations.” While they could always return to the bargaining table, there are no plans to do so. The break down …
Listen to (and share) episode 43 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive editor talks with host David Bloom about the big Hulu non-sale announcement; Tribune’s next step out of bankruptcy; drooping broadcast ad prices; the Apple e-book loss; and Viacom bear changes his rating, but with a big caveat.
UPDATE: News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and Disney CEO Bob Iger continue to express confidence in their decision, along with Comcast, to hold on to Hulu. “I think it’s a hell of a good business – or it can be,” Murdoch told our sister pub Variety today …
Forget the speculation that Peter Chernin has lost interest in teaming with AT&T to bid for Hulu ahead of the Friday deadline for final offers. He and the telco will be there, along with a group that’s expected to include DirecTV, Guggenheim Digital, investment firm KKR, Silver Lake Partners with WME, and Time Warner Cable — with Yahoo a question mark. Some people began to wonder about Chernin’s intentions Monday after Fox unveiled a deal to license shows to Netfllix. The arrangement meant that Hulu lost its access to full seasons of the Chernin Entertainment-produced sitcom New Girl. (It will only be able to offer a few episodes at a time.) Yet we’re told that he’s still eager to help AT&T. Company watchers say that the telco’s intrigued by the possibility of turning Hulu into the centerpiece of a new wireless video business that would ask studios to help pay for the costs to transmit video to mobile devices. It was a coup for the company to align with Chernin who’s popular in Hollywood and helped to develop Hulu back when he was No. 2 at News Corp.
Listen to (and share) episode 37 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive editor talks with host David Bloom about who’s likely to buy Hulu; whether OWN will pencil out for Discovery this year; Netflix plans to triple spending on original content; and whether the new News Corp. will scoop up the LA Times or other print publications.
CNBC sat down with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on the sidelines of the AllThingsD conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA this morning. Hastings was of course mum on providing ratings data for its new original series Arrested Development, which premiered this week, saying the company was more interested in …
UPDATE: The last time Hulu was in play, it was 2011 and an auction sale went nowhere. And before that, in 2010, an IPO was contemplated but not pursued. So I’m somewhat skeptical about a successful outcome this time around. A …
It isn’t the kind of thing a network exec wants to admit the week before broadcasters open the upfront ad sales season. But the News Corp COO, in a quarterly call with analysts, couldn’t avoid the fact that this season’s ratings declines show “it’s not been a great year for the broadcast business overall from a creative perspective.” Carey says it’s time for networks to “discard a few habits and rules and take some shots. Hopefully next week will be the beginning of that process.” While he didn’t offer specifics, he says one possibility is to “be a bit more targeted [in programming] and invest deeper—take fewer bets and bet deeper.” Carey acknowledged that as digital video becomes more popular “there’s no question there’ll be more and more choices and people will find those choices.” But the exec says he still has faith in broadcasting — as long as it can collect revenues from subscriptions as well as ad sales. He declined to offer more insight into his recent threat to make Fox a pay TV service if the courts jeopardize the dual revenue stream model. Some analysts say that could happen if justices agree that streaming service Aereo can distribute local over-the-air signals without paying broadcasters. “If that dual revenue stream is not available, there are other paths we can pursue,” Carey says. He adds that the “most exciting” opportunity for Hulu is to focus on boosting subscriptions. Broadcasters can add “original and other unique product” and “take advantage of its leadership position in the digital space.”