Hulu is close to naming Fox executive Mike Hopkins as the CEO of the company, according to sources with Bloomberg. Hopkins’ position is currently the president of distribution at Fox Networks. He will be replacing Hulu acting CEO Andy Forssell. Hopkins is experienced in negotiating with pay TV services.
Hulu has plans to become an online partner in the pay TV industry so that cable subscribers can give mobile and online access to their programs. Hulu is also developing their own original programming to increase competition with Netflix.
Hulu almost went for sale in a transaction that would have been worth about $1 billion. However, Hulu’s controlling shareholders The Walt Disney Company and News Corporation’s Fox dropped their plans to sell Hulu. Instead, they agreed to enhance Hulu’s technology, develop programming, and build up marketing.
The two controlling companies and the other non-controlling shareholder, Comcast Corporation, put in $750 million to further grow Hulu. Some of the bidders that were interested in buying out Hulu included Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, and Peter Chernin.
As the head of distribution, Hopkins oversaw Fox’s business for collecting programming fees from pay TV systems and broadcast affiliates. He oversaw the distribution for Fox Sports 1, a new national network that launched in August. Hulu’s new pay-TV fees will complement their advertising and subscription models.
Forssell replaced Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar this past March. Forssell was the VP of content at that time. Hulu went from a small startup in 2007 to a media powerhouse hitting around $700 million in 2012 revenues. This year, Hulu is releasing 20 exclusive shows and will be increasing that amount to 40 within 2 years.
Hulu will also provide all episodes of a show at once on Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus has around 4 million subscribers and sells for $8 per month. Hulu hits around 30 million unique visitors per month.