Monday, August 20, 2012

An Uncertain Future For Hulu

Whether it is in business or in the kitchen, the notion that too many chefs spoil the broth comes into play.  It seems especially true when these multiple owners have big input and even larger expectations to the business at hand.  A single owner, like a single chef, may take recommendations and other expertise into their decision making process, but ultimately, the final decision is a singular one.  So we face crossroads with businesses who face changing landscapes with multiple owners with different viewpoints.

Case in point, Hulu, and their majority owners News Corp and Disney.  NBC is also a major owner, but it's ownership to Comcast requires them to be now a silent partner.  As Provident Equity sells its shares, speculation is that so will it's current CEO Jason Kilar.  And with that sale could come his departure. "A second consequence of the Providence buyout is that the change in the ownership structure will precipitate significant adjustments to the content licensing agreements that give Hulu its most valuable asset: next-day access to primetime programming from the TV networks owned by News Corp. and Disney." But with two different philosophies regarding online video content, the future for Hulu could become murkier.

That Hulu is mentioned constantly with being a driver of cord-cutting could determine the new shape of how and when content is made available.  The Variety article asks some additional key questions facing the future of the company, including what kind of exclusivity will they get, what about international expansion, and how best to build additional revenue.  Can these media giants work together when they are historically competitors on other distribution fronts? Without key leadership and another owner that can balance the opinions of Disney and News Corp, conflict may interfere with progress.

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