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Hulu Names Joel Stillerman to New Chief Content Officer Position

10 May, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Joel Stillerman

Hulu May 10 announced the hiring of Joel Stillerman to the new position of chief content officer, reporting directly to CEO Mike Hopkins.

Stillerman most recently held a similar position with AMC Networks, where he was responsible for launching pay-TV hits “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul,” among others.

“Over the past several years, we’ve grown our audience and our content offering exponentially, and now is the right time to add Joel’s creative and strategic leadership to the team and drive the next phase of Hulu’s content business,” Hopkins said in a statement.

With 12 million subscribers, Hulu remains significantly in arrears of Netflix/Amazon’s collective sub footprint — while generating sizeable fiscal losses to corporate owners Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner.

As a result, the pressure is on to find programming that resonates and attracts SVOD subscribers — and now online TV following the beta launch of “Hulu Live With TV.”

Indeed, Hulu has been on a content licensing run, as well as an original programming quest. The latter includes shows such as “The Drama,” “11.22.63,” “Casual” and, most-recently, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” among others.

Two years ago, it licensed movies from Epix after Netflix failed to renew its $1 billion agreement.

Hulu is also working with J.J. Abrams on a new series, in addition to “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon.

Though Hulu announced last year it was looking for a CCO, the hiring would appear to be a demotion for Craig Erwich, erstwhile SVP, head of content. Erwich retains his SVP title while reporting to Stillerman.

The executive’s arrival comes as Hulu has a mandate from 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch to establish itself as a legitimate competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Fox essentially manages Hulu under the leadership of former Fox TV executive Hopkins. Last August, Fox sold 10% equity interest in Hulu to Time Warner while retaining 30% ownership of the SVOD service.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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