Peter Chernin: ‘There’s No Reason Hulu Shouldn’t Be Netflix Today’

Variety | 12/6/2019 | Elaine Low
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The Chernin Group head and former News Corp. exec Peter Chernin believes that Hulu, not Netflix, should’ve been the dominant streaming platform of the modern era, blaming Fox and NBC for diminishing the streaming service he helped launch in 2007 in a joint venture with then-NBCUniversal chief Jeff Zucker.

“The day we both left [in 2009], both of those companies turned around and in some ways throttled Hulu,” he told Variety editor-in-chief Claudia Eller at the Variety Dealmakers Elite breakfast on Friday, alleging that Fox and NBC increased the ad load on Hulu and began holding back content. “Every single person at Fox hated Hulu,” he added.

Streaming - Platform - Chernin - Throttling - Years

“That should’ve been the dominant streaming platform,” said Chernin. “I would argue that their throttling of that in the four to five years after that is potentially one of the bigger mistakes that’s been made in the media business. There’s no reason Hulu shouldn’t be Netflix today. The fact that it isn’t is because they didn’t lean into it during that time. I think it’s a phenomenal lesson in how big companies should treat disruption. We’re in the midst of enormous disruptions, and if you think you’re going to protect yourself against this disruption, you’re out of your mind. You’re not, and your job at these companies is to lean into disruption and anticipate it before anybody else.”

Chernin had in 2013 bid for Hulu when the platform was put up for sale, before then-joint owners Fox, NBCU and Disney changed their minds and called it off.

Years - Hulu - Netflix - Market - Aughts

In the years since Hulu and Netflix debuted on the market in the late aughts, the two services’ paths have diverged. Netflix has amassed 158 million subscribers globally, taking the lead in the streaming arena, while Hulu has pushed to grow to over 28 million subscribers, and is now fully...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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