Programming

NAB 2008: Kilar Hints at Hulu Mobile

CEO of NBC Universal-News Corp. Online-Video Joint Venture Explains Business Philosophy in NAB Keynote 4/17/2008 04:45:00 AM Eastern

Las Vegas -- Hulu CEO Jason Kilar hinted that the video site co-founded by NBC Universal and News Corp. could find its way to other platforms, saying that many of them, such as mobile phones, would be "ripe for the Hulu experience."

Jason Kilar

Kilar said he could not get into specifics for any future plans for competitive reasons but did let out a few tidbits about what may be in store for the site on new platforms.

"It may not be identical [on every platform], but anything connected to the Internet would be a good fit for Hulu," he added.

Kilar also explained the business philosophy of the site, placing an emphasis on user experience and giving content providers a chance to monetize content that would otherwise be lost.

"Arrested Development fluctuates between the No. 1 and No. 2 series on Hulu, and it hasn't been on the air in a few years," Kilar said. "It is doing better than all of the current hits on television."

Kilar used the example of Felicity -- another cult favorite TV show produced by Ron Howard, and also much beloved by Kilar's wife -- to emphasize his point.

"The only way to get [Felicity] is from unauthorized sources," Kilar said, showing a screen grab of a clip from Felicity on Google-owned YouTube, a competitor to Hulu. He added that the lack of authorized distribution services leads to lost revenue for the content owners.

Responding to a question about affiliates concerned about Hulu stomping on their territory, Kilar responded that he wants Hulu to work with affiliates in the same way it works with AOL, MSN and Yahoo, having Hulu program the MSO or station Web sites with its own content.

"We want to get [Hulu's content partners’ programming] on MSO and broadcast-station Web sites, and we want to power that," Kilar said.

Kilar said one of the primary goals of Hulu is to provide "an atypical user experience," adding that such an experience is a big part of what will bring and ultimately keep visitors to the site. Everything from the font selection to how much white space there should be came under "heated debate" among the internal team, according to Kilar.

"My mother has to be able to figure out the service in 15 seconds or less," he said.

The reason the user experience is so important , according to Kilar, is due to the fact that entertainment content is a luxury, not a necessity, and companies need to stand out in order to succeed.

"Media is not like oxygen, food or shelter -- you don't need it," he said. "This is an impulse business, you need to make it easy."

For complete coverage of the 2008 NAB Show, click here.

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