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Hulu names Andy Forssell acting CEO

March 14, 2013|By Meg James
  • Hulu named Andy Forssell, one of the original architects of the online video site, as its acting chief executive.
Hulu named Andy Forssell, one of the original architects of the online video… (Hulu )

Andy Forssell, an original member of the team that created the popular online video site Hulu, is to become acting chief executive this month.

Jason Kilar, the departing CEO and architect of the service, announced the move Thursday in a blog post on Hulu's website.

"Andy exemplifies the Hulu culture and has been central to Hulu’s journey, helping to grow this company from two content partners and no revenue to over 450 content partners and approximately $700 million revenue in 2012," Kilar wrote.

Hulu is at a crossroads as it struggles to chart its future.

The venture is owned by three media giants -- News Corp., Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal -- and ranking executives at those companies have philosophical differences on Hulu's direction.

News Corp. executives would like Hulu to concentrate on increasing its paid subscribers. Disney executives, meanwhile, are content to have Hulu build up its free service, which is supported by advertising, according to people close to the companies.

In addition, restrictions that came during the federal government's approval of Comcast's 2011 takeover of NBCUniversal prevent NBCUniversal from having a voice in Hulu's affairs. That structure has further pitted News Corp. against Disney in key decisions.

Kilar, perhaps seeking to tamp down concerns over the divisions, wrote: "Andy has built strong relationships with many of our board members. Andy has the board’s strong support in leading the team during this important time"

Forssell, 47, was not made available for interviews. It is unclear whether he will get the job permanently.

"Disney and News Corporation are currently finalizing their forward-looking plans with Hulu, and the senior team has been working closely with them in that process," Kilar said. "Once the plans are finalized, a permanent decision will be made regarding the CEO position."

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