Head of Hulu leaving during tumultuous time for streaming video

5th Jan 2013 | 00:31

Head of Hulu leaving during tumultuous time for streaming video

Competitors and angsty owners

Hulu's head honcho is leaving the company sometime during Q1 of 2013, along with Rich Tom, the company's CTO. The timing of their departure, though not outlined specifically, should be before April.

CEO Jason Kilar took to a blog post Friday to announce he will stay on to help transition the company to its new leadership before leaving.

Kilar offered little in the way of explanation, calling the decision difficult after more than five years at Hulu's helm.

Though replacements weren't announced and are likely not yet identified, Kilar said he'd reveal more as "dates and other items get solidified."

Testy time

Kilar's departure comes at an intriguing point in the streaming video industry, one marked by steep competition, emerging services and devices and a public keen on watching online content free of ads.

Though Hulu grossed around $695 million (UK£432 million) in revenue in 2012 and signed more than 200,000 subscribers to Hulu Plus in the last week alone, competing services like Amazon Prime, Netflix and the forthcoming U.S. Redbox Instant service have made the streaming waters mighty unfriendly.

Hulu Plus commands 3 million paying subscribers and is found on a host of devices like Apple TV, Nintendo's Wii and Wii U and Windows 8 tablets, as well as Android slates and smartphones. Netflix, however, boasts over 30 million members worldwide.

A potential contributing factor to Kilar's sign off is the perceived cold blood between him and three of Hulu's parent companies - NBC Universal, News Corp and Disney - a development that has led many industry watchers to call the CEO's resignation inevitable.

Kilar seemingly took the companies to task two years over how each distributed content on the site and interjected advertising where consumers didn't want it.

With Kilar gone, we'll have to keep a close on Hulu's traditional media owner undermine the site's attempts to develop its own content and whether limiting outside content (or adding more ads) become the wave of Hulu's future.

Though his departure marks a time of transition and likely significant change for Hulu and its streaming services, Kilar shouldn't be without a job for long. He used to work for Amazon and was on the short list to take over Yahoo! last year, so he stands a pretty good chance of finding employment somewhere respectable soon.

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