Hulu Continues To Wobble Along That Fine Line Between Success And Failure As CEO Bails
from the looking-kind-of-bad dept
If one were to make a short list of the top great ideas that were implimented horribly, unbelievably wrong, Hulu would have to be somewhere between The View and the United Nations (I'll let you decide what goes where, exactly). Hulu was the once promising entertainment venture that has ugly-morphed its way into a mere excuse for entertainment studios to claim they offer people what they want. All the while there's been some discussion about whether or not the studios that own Hulu are purposefully trying to tank it to keep people from cutting the cable cord. And throughout all of this, Hulu has never really caught on with the same kind of fevered pitch as Netflix or even Amazon for streaming service customers.
Reader Vidiot writes in about a Business Insider piece detailing all the reasons why Hulu may have one foot in the grave and the other foot hovering just over it. Amongst the less-than-awesome facts on Hulu's list are items such as a new request for $200 Million from investors, reported losses of $30 Million per quarter, and that Hulu is trying to compete against Netflix while spending one-tenth the money on original content and one-ninth the paid subscriber base. The article announces that because of all that, it's time to conclude that Hulu is a failure, but don't blame corporate leadership.
The fact is (CEO Jason) Kilar had an almost impossible job from the very beginning. Hulu doesn't own the content it distributes, so it only gets to keep a small portion of its revenues. Hulu is, in fact, owned by the companies that own said content. And those owners have little incentive to create healthy margins for Hulu at the expense of their own. The fact is, Kilar has, in a couple years, built a Web brand that you have heard of. Yes, this was done on the back of free TV and a big marketing budget. But it's still decently impressive.
I'm not sure how we went from failure to impressive in less than a hundred words (which is impressive, by the by), but I am sympathetic to Hulu's raw deal from the studios that own it — something Mike has been pointing out for nearly four years. That said, I don't think Hulu is a failure that is so far failed that it can't be brought back from fail-dom. After all, I've heard that Justin Timberlake is taking some time away from bringing sexy back to work on bringing Myspace back and if that mess of a social network can rise from the internet grave, Hulu can too.
But whoever is going to try to bring Hulu back from the prep-coffin, it appears it isn't going to be the afore mentioned Jason Kilar, because he's decided to bail. By all accounts, Kilar tried, really tried to make this thing work, but despite some successes it's not wrong to say that Hulu hasn't turned out to be what some folks thought it would. Given the raw deal that Hulu has gotten, the conflicts of interest heading up the company, I don't blame Kilar one bit for leaving. Hulu needs to innovate despite its issues, or else we can get the funeral march going.