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Tech Bits: Vsauce Passes 1B Views; Vessel Launches; Singer’s New Gig

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 6:29pm PDT

Tech Bits: Vsauce Passes 1B Views; Vessel Launches; Singer’s New GigEven in the hyperventilating world of online media, 1 billion views is A Very Big Number. So accordingly, the enthusiastically geeky guys behind the three Vsauce YouTube channels were in a mood to celebrate after passing that major milestone. The three producer/hosts — Michael Stevens, Kevin Lieber and Jake Roper — presided over a panel and party at the YouTube Space L.A. on Monday night, and looked forward in a separate interview to what may be possible for the sites, which collectively have accumulated more than 12 million followers and those billion views in just about four years of short, peppy and slightly off-kilter takes on science and much else. Stevens, the original channel’s founder, says what makes all three channels distinctive is “the attitude or perspective we take, whether we’re talking black holes or chocolate cake: curious, optimistic and thinking tangentially.”
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Hulu Names Andy Forssell Acting CEO

By | Thursday March 14, 2013 @ 10:18pm PDT

Current CEO Jason Kilar who is leaving at the end of the month revealed the news today on Hulu‘s website. “You know Andy well”, Kilar said, “he’s been a critical senior executive and has been here from the start of this great adventure. As the company’s SVP Content, Forssell helped build Hulu grow from a startup in 2007 to about $700 million in revenue in 2012, Kilar added. Hulu stakeholders ABC/Disney and Fox/News Corp are in discussions with Hulu management about their plans for the company. Once those plans are finalized, the company will make a permanent decision about the CEO. Fellow stakeholder NBCUniversal/Comcast Corp. is barred from an active role at Hulu. ABC and Fox are in talks that may lead to one buying out the other’s interest. The companies, which each own about one-third, are also discussing selling Hulu or changing the business model.

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Hulu CEO Jason Kilar And CTO Rich Tom Will Leave In Q1

By | Friday January 4, 2013 @ 1:18pm PST

Kilar just posted the news on the Hulu blog. He says that he is “currently working with the Board to ensure there is ample runway to manage this transition.” Although Kilar turned Hulu into one of the Web’s most popular video destinations, he has been widely expected to leave. He has had several run-ins with its owners News Corp, Disney, and Comcast, who didn’t share his passion to take Hulu public or sell it. Last year he had to dampen speculation that he might be considered for the top job at Yahoo before the board picked former Google exec Marissa Mayer to be CEO. In August, Variety disclosed an internal strategy memo that included on the agenda: “Outline transition plan for new CEO. Discuss potential candidates and process.” The path for Kilar’s departure was paved in October when the company paid Providence Equity $200M for its 10% stake. That also enabled Kilar to sell his shares back to the company, reportedly for $40M.

Last month, Kilar said on the company blog that Hulu would end 2012 with about $695M in revenue, up 65% vs 2011. Its paid streaming service, Hulu Plus, has more than 3M subscribers, double the number from the previous year. Kilar also said that Hulu invested more than $500M for content in 2012 and also served more than 1,000 advertisers during the year, a 28% increase over 2011. “Since the launch of Hulu in October 2007, we have generated over $1 billion for our content partners,” Kilar noted. Disney CEO Bob Iger calls Kilar “an integral part of the Hulu story,” adding that he’s confident in its executives’ “ability to drive Hulu forward from here.”

Here’s what Kilar said today: Read More »

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Hulu Revenues Up Big In 2012, Says CEO

By | Monday December 17, 2012 @ 10:39am PST

CEO Jason Kilar took to the company blog today to announce Hulu’s results for 2012. He said the streaming service would close the year with about $695 million in revenue, up 65% over a year ago. Kilar also said that there are now over 3 million paying subscribers for the Hulu Plus Service. That is a subscriber rise of double the total paying viewers Hulu Plus had in 2011. “Hulu Plus can now be accessed from more than 320 million Internet connected devices in the U.S. (not including laptop and desktop computers),” Kilar wrote. Hulu, the CEO also went on to say, now has “more than 430 content partners, providing over 60,000 TV episodes, 2,300 TV series, and 50,000 hours of video on Hulu and Hulu Plus.” He added that Hulu invested more than $500 million in content in 2012 and also served more than 1,000 advertisers during the year, a 28% increase over 2011.  “Since the launch of Hulu in October 2007, we have generated over $1 billion for our content partners,” Kilar noted.

Related: CBS Inks Library Deal For Hulu Plus

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Hulu Pays $200M For Providence Equity’s 10% Stake & Weighs Big Changes: Reports

By | Saturday October 13, 2012 @ 9:31am PDT

The deal removes the leading non-broadcaster force at the video streaming company that’s controlled by Disney and News Corp and includes NBCUniversal, according to reports in TechCrunch and Bloomberg. Hulu’s said to have borrowed the cash to repurchase Providence Equity’s shares, which it bought in 2007 for $100M. Its deal gave it the right to sell the holdings back to Hulu for twice what it paid if the video company failed to sell itself or go public. Hulu considered an IPO in 2010, and flirted with a possible sale last year. Providence’s exit will free some Hulu employees, including CEO Jason Kilar, to sell out — and Bloomberg says that “separately” from the Providence deal, Kilar will receive $40M.

The latest news is consistent with the widely held belief that his days at Hulu are numbered. A story in FastCompany this week said that Kilar “now appears to be on the verge of being dispatched by his bosses–after which they may dismantle much of what he’s created at Hulu.” According to a leaked transition plan, the company may double the number of ads on the Fox shows that appear on Hulu, although not Hulu Plus. In addition, the networks are considering letting Google’s YouTube — which has far more viewers — have the same access to their current-season shows that they now provide to Hulu. Disney and News Corp control the board. Although NBCU is … Read More »

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Business Insider: Low Bids Could Doom Hulu Auction

By | Friday September 30, 2011 @ 3:01pm PDT

The much-hyped Hulu auction may end up a bust because “the bids are not coming in as high as (the company’s backers) hoped,” Business Insider reports. Hulu was looking for more than $2B, but the site has said that Dish Network came in at $1.9B.  Google’s believed to have topped that with $4B, but that’s contingent on program licensing terms that Hulu’s owners Disney, News Corp, and Comcast apparently can’t swallow. That’s exactly the dilemma that many executives anticipated in June when Hulu put up the “for sale” sign.  News Corp COO Chase Carey also indicated last month that his company would be willing to hang on to Hulu. The online video venture’s CEO Jason Kilar and Disney are believed to be the ones who are most eager to sell.

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Hulu Plus Had 875K Subscribers In June

No word about Hulu’s effort to find a buyer. But CEO Jason Kilar offers a strong sales pitch for the company in a status report he posted online today. He says the company owned by Disney, News Corp and Comcast’s NBCUniversal is “on pace to approach half a billion in 2011 revenue.” With 875,000 customers in June paying $7.99 a month to watch streamed movies and TV shows on Hulu Plus, “we anticipate exceeding 1 million paying subscribers before the end of this summer” — a target the company originally expected to hit at year’s end. Kilar says that when ad sales are thrown in, “we proudly and profitably pay the content community approximately $8 per subscriber per month for the content offering you see today on Hulu Plus.” The CEO adds that it is able to “thrive on low margins and the unusually effective Hulu advertising service we’ve built and will continue to innovate.” About 25 million DVRs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other devices can receive streamed videos from Hulu Plus, but Kilar says that will “grow aggressively over the balance of 2011.” Read More »

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