By Sahil Patel
Hulu’s acting CEO Andy Forssell is exiting the company, and will be replaced by Mike Hopkins, the current president of distribution at Fox Networks.
It’s been a rather tumultuous year for Hulu, the premium video service owned by a trio of television companies that can’t seem to agree on what to do with it. In short, Disney has favored focusing on the ad-supported side of the service, while News Corp./20th Century Fox has been more interested in pushing Hulu’s subscription business. Comcast/NBCUniversal, the third major owner, has no say due to federal regulations.
Earlier this spring and summer, Hulu was up for sale for the second time in three years, only to be taken off the shopping block by its owners. At the time, longtime CEO Jason Kilar had already left the company, and Andy Forssell, Hulu’s SVP of content had been running the ship as acting/interim CEO. During his short tenure, Hulu has been plagued by what some are referring to as a “mass exodus” of executives, most of whom are leaving because they are unsure what the company’s future is.
The fact that Forssell, a man who oversaw Hulu’s content strategy (including its originals), remained Hulu’s acting CEO should give you an idea of what the service’s owners are thinking. Hulu is primarily a service that exists to support TV content, providing another window for networks to monetize their current and archived programming. It might offer some originals, but they are going to remain an after-thought for as long as Disney, Fox, and Comcast remain its owners.
By hiring Hopkins, who handled distribution for Fox, as the new CEO, it’s clear that Hulu will continue to support the TV business — regardless of how much money the trio of owners have invested in it.