NBC Universal lost its three Hulu board seats as part of a deal Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) made with the FCC to allow its takeover of the Peacock network; now the other two media companies that are part of the joint venture, Disney (NYSE: DIS) and News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA), may also see their sway on the board reduced. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the online video hub is considering trimming the size of its board by at least two more members-Disney CEO Bob Iger and News Corp. COO Chase Carey.
Iger and Carey are considered two of the most powerful media execs in Hollywood and have often been at odds with Hulu CEO Jason Kilar over the direction the aggregator has taken, including a battle over pricing of Hulu Plus that Kilar apparently lost last year.
If Iger and Carey go, Disney and News Corp. will still have two votes each in the boardroom, but the playing field will certainly be leveled for Kilar, who appears to have a significantly different view of the aggregator's future in the over-the-top delivery of content to its customers than his media partners. The reduced size of the board also should allow decisions to be made more quickly, giving Hulu the ability to better react to trends in the market, and to behave more like the entrepreneurial entity it is.
Kilar and his JV partners have often gone toe-to-toe on a number of critical decisions, especially as NBCU, Disney and News Corp. attempt to define their own online strategy, putting more content online and making deals of their own with Hulu competitors, a la NBCU and Netflix.
Kilar also has expressed very strong views as to the fading luster of the broadcast TV industry, views that drew the ire of executives from Disney and News Corp. when he posted them on a blog last month. In the blog, Kilar said, for example, that TV wasn't flexible enough, didn't fit into viewers lives and gave advertisers a poor return for their ad dollars.
A slimmed-down board may just give him a little more room to operate.
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