CES 2018: Freer Sees Hulu Staffers Jazzed by Win

Turner's Martin ‘disappointed’ by delay of AT&T-Time Warner merger
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Winning a Golden Globe for best dramatic series, puts Hulu in a good place as it competes with the giants of the new TV business.

Talking during a keyote address at the CES on Wednesday (Jan. 10), Hulu’s new CEO Randy Freer, said the award for The Handmaid’s Tale, excited staffers and it says a lot of way the creative community is bringing things to Hulu in a way they didn’t before.”

Also speaking was John Martin, CEO of Time Warner’s Turner unit. Both execs talked about the challenges and opportunities of the new TV environment, which faced consolidation and technology change.

The Globe win is also driving subscriber gains, and Hulu can tell that many of its new subscriber were tuning in first to watch Handmaid’s Tale.

"Now, everyone believes we can aspire to set a much higher bar,” Freeer said. 

Hulu recently announced have 17 million subscribers. “As we look at Hulu it’s almost 10 year old,” Freer said. "It was created in defense against YouTube, Netflix and pay TV erosonie. Now we’re being more aggressive in marketing, focused on adding subscribers.”

Meanwhile, Time Warner is in a bit of limbo with its deal to be acquired by AT&T stalled by an antirust suit by the Justice Department.

“The mission has been pretty clear from the get go: Keep your head down, and execute the strategy,” Martin said.

There have been some meeting with AT&T — closely supervise by lawyers — but there are” a lot of limits on what you can do” in terms of making post-merger plans.

“At this point, everyone just wants a little clarity,” he said. “We at Turner, this can’t close fast enough.”

Martin admitted at being personally disappointed by the deal. “It extended the uncertainty and as with most businesses where there’s uncertaintly a lot of bad things can fill the void. So we’re trying to keep all the great people of Turner working on our priorities.”

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