OTT-sized hole at Hulu as chief to quit

Joseph O'Halloran | 07-01-2013

In a move that has shocked not only the company but the industry, chief executive of over-the-top (OTT) provider Hulu, Jason Kilar, has tendered his resignation.

Kilar will leave a company with more than 410 professional content providers, 38 million unique monthly users and over 1,000 advertisers. Kilar also led the launch of Hulu Plus, the online video subscription service which offers current season and classic library programming on connected TVs, tablets, mobiles phones and PCs, and which is claimed to have reached two million paying subscribers faster than any video subscription service in US history.

According to the November 2012 comScore Video Metrix, Hulu generated 1.5 billion online video ads out of a total of 10.5 for the industry as a whole in the US, and the same month Hulu reported that revenue was growing 65% in 2012 to almost $700 million and that Hulu Plus subscribers would reach three million by the end of the year. "We are closing on a big 2012," Kilar said at the time in a blog.

Yet what he hasn’t said to date is why he’s left the company that he has helmed since 2007 after leaving the Walt Disney Company. Again blogging, this time about his departure, Kilar said that he and Rich Tom had been “fortunate to build and innovate alongside each other these past 5+ years” and that their plan was to “do more of that on the road ahead”.

Looking back on his tenure, he added: “Five-and-a-half years later, thanks to the missionary work of this amazing 600+ worldwide team and courageous, prescient partners, we are fortunate to have collectively built a culture that matters, a brand that matters, a business that matters. Our convictions and our relentless pursuit of better ways have made the difference and will continue to make the difference.

“We have proudly generated over $1 billion for our content partners since we excitedly entered private beta in October 2007. Our video advertising service delivers world-class results and sets the pace for the industry. We have authored scores of inventions along the way … I’ve been so fortunate to play a role in this amazing, ongoing journey. My decision to depart has been one of the toughest I’ve ever made.”