Careers at Hulu
Hulu provides an online television streaming service that enables users to access television shows, movies, documentaries, and kids programs directly from their desktops and mobile devices, as well as other devices and electronic systems.
Hulu was established in 2006 by NBC Universal executive Beth Comstock (“Comstock”) and former Amazon executive Jason Kilar (“Kilar”). The Company was launched as a joint venture with AOL, Comcast, Facebook, MSN, Myspace, and Yahoo as its founding distribution partners, with Comstock and Kilar appointed to oversee its establishment and early development. The www.hulu.com domain was acquired in 2007 by NBC Universal, one of Hulu’s first content providers, and went live in August that same year, comprising only a form for users to sign up to an upcoming beta test and no content.
The Hulu platform launched for public access in 2008. The Company has completed two rounds of formal funding, in 2007 and 2009, raising more than $100 million from Providence Equity Partners and The Walt Disney Company. Reports in late 2015 suggested that cable telecoms company Time Warner was in talks to acquire a stake in Hulu that valued the Company at around $5 billion. To date, however, no stake sale appears to have taken place.
Benefits at Hulu
Business model of Hulu
Hulu primarily serves mass market consumers who wish to have on-demand access to quality television programming and movies from a variety of sources. Recent reports estimate that the Company has around 9 million individual subscribers in the US. The service is not available internationally.
According to reports within the advertising sector, around 82% of Hulu’s users are aged between 18 and 49, with 75% of users viewing content via a web-connected TV.
Hulu also includes advertisers and agencies among its customers providing a large, captive audience for their advertising content in the form of un-skippable ads.
Hulu’s streaming service enables users to view premium television and movie content on-demand, via any device and in any location with an internet connection. This convenience and flexibility is the Company’s greatest value to consumers.
What sets the Company apart from its competitors, however, notably Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, is its content. Hulu is the only service that provides access to recent programms, including episodes from the current, airing seasons of various shows. This includes ‘day after rights’ that allow Hulu to stream episodes on its Hulu Plus service that premiered on television just the day before.
Hulu also offers original programms from big names such as JJ Abrams, Stephen King and Billy Eichner, as well as streaming exclusives that are not available elsewhere, including the Wayward Pines, Empire and South Park series. Hulu is also of value to advertisers, expanding their audience and allowing them to target specific demographics.
Hulu is available via its mobile and desktop websites at www.hulu.com. The Company also provides a range of apps for mobile phones and tablets covering the iOS, Android and Windows Phone operating systems, and can be accessed via smart televisions, gaming consoles, set-top boxes and blu-ray players.
Access to Hulu’s streaming platform is entirely self-service. Subscriptions can be purchased, managed and altered through the Company’s website, as well as through its various apps. Users are able to access video content immediately following completion of the registration and billing process. No interaction with Hulu representatives is required.
The platform also has some automated functionality, including viewing suggestions based on user viewing histories. Hulu provides technical assistance to its users in the form of troubleshooting pages, set-up guides and contact forms via the online Hulu Help Centre.
The Company also interacts with its users, keeping them up to date with the platform’s developments, via its Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Youtube, Instagram and Google+ accounts.
Hulu primarily provides online television and movie streaming services to the mass consumer market, through partnerships with a range of content providers. It also offers content distribution options, such as commercial media feeds and individual embeddable players, and enables consumers to share content on their personal websites, social networking profiles, and blogs through embed codes.
Hulu also serves advertisers and agencies with a range of ad solutions that enable companies to associate their brands with specific video content and reach their target demographics more effectively. The Company additionally provides advertisers and marketers with ancillary consultancy services relating to research, reporting, insights, and analytics services.
Hulu’s key partners are its content providers, distribution partners and advertising partners. The Company has more than 500 content partners, comprising high-profile production companies, movie studios and televisions networks, including NBC Universal, Comedy Central, BBC, Fox, Showtime, VH1 and ABC.
Hulu also collaborates with around 2,000 advertising partners – comprising advertising agencies and big brand companies – to provide appropriate commercials to its user base. Advertising partners can sponsor seasonal tentpoles, such as Summer TV on Hulu and Hulu for the Holidays, as well as thematically grouped content, including Huluween and Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and can collaborate with the Company through local advertising and targeted advertising solutions.
Hulu also entered into a recent partnership with electronics company Samsung to provide a virtual reality app that can be accessed via the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear Virtual Reality platform.
Hulu’s key resources are its streaming platform, its content and its partnerships. The Company’s content in particular is responsible for much of the platform’s unique value in an increasingly competitive streaming market. This includes Hulu’s original content, its exclusive streaming content and its collaborations with content providers.
The Company’s advertising partners also play a key role within its business model, accounting for a significant proportion of its annual revenue.
Hulu’s principal costs relate to the development and maintenance of its streaming platform, its IT infrastructure, and its management of content partnerships. Hulu pays its content providers in the form of licensing fees for content, shares much of its advertising revenue with its content partners.
The Company also has revenue sharing agreements with its distribution partners. In addition, Hulu incurs costs relating to its operation of a network of servers and data centres.
Hulu makes money through the sale of service subscriptions and the generation of advertising revenue. Subscriptions currently account for a little over half of Hulu’s annual revenue, and is expected to comprise a growing proportion of the Company’s revenue over the coming years.
Hulu offers two subscription packages. The first is priced at $7.99 per month and comes with a limited amount of advertising within its programming. The Company’s premium subscription package costs $11.99 per month and is completely ad-free. Hulu’s ad revenue is shared with its content providers, who take a 70% share of all advertising revenue. The Company also shares a small proportion of its revenue with its distribution partners.
In 2015 Hulu reportedly brought in around $1.6 billion in annual revenue.
info: Beth appears to have been co-founder of Hulu in her capacity as an executive of NBC Universal, where she served as President of Integrated Media from 2005 to 2008. Comstock has been employed within the GE Group, of which NBC Universal is a subsidiary, for almost her entire career. She joined the group in 1996 as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at NBC, before being appointed to the same role at GE in 1998. She held this position until 2002 when she was named GE’s Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing the group’s marketing and sales development. She was next appointed to her role as President of Integrated Media, before joining the GE executive leadership team as Senior Vice President in 2008. Comstock currently serves as GE’s Vice Chair, a role she has held since 2015.
info: Jason served as Hulu’s Founding Chief Executive Officer from 2007 to 2013. According to his corporate networking profile, he began his career as an analyst at The Walt Disney Company in 1993. In 1997 he joined Amazon, where he held several roles – including Vice President and General Manager of Video, Vice President and General Manager of North America Video, and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Application Software – before joining Hulu in 2006. After leaving Hulu in 2013, Kilar co-founded subscription video service Vessel, of which he continues to serve as Chief Executive Officer.
info: Mike has been Hulu’s incumbent Chief Executive Officer since 2013, having served as a member of the Company’s board of directors since 2011. He previously served as President of Distribution for Fox Networks, overseeing the network’s broadcast distribution and the strategy, sales and marketing of its US cable networks. Hopkins is also a former director of the National Geographic Channel and the Big Ten Network, and a former executive of the Weather Channel and marketing services company Harte Hanks.
info: Tian has served as Hulu’s Chief Technology Officer since 2014. He has previously held a number of engineering and development roles within the video games industry. From 1998 to 2003 he served as a software engineer at Nintendo Technology Development. Lim joined Microsoft Xbox in 2005 as a development lead, going on to be promoted to development manager in 2007 and Director of Development in 2008. He left Microsoft Xbox in 2011 to join Sony Entertainment Network, where he served as Vice President of the Entertainment Experience Development Group and latterly as Senior Vice President of Product Engineering.
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