• Hulu CEO to step down amid Disney reorganisation
  • Disney+ to lead Hulu and ESPN operations to scale streaming business
  • Disney chairman says aim “rapidly grow our presence outside the US”


Hulu: Facing overhaul under Disney leadership 

The Hulu business will be integrated into Disney’s direct-to-consumer business and its CEO Randy Freer is set to exit the company.

Stepping down from the streaming giant, Hulu’s chief executive Randy Freer will no longer head the operation as Disney plans to unite its direct-to-consumer (D2C) offerings in a move to help scale all its platforms more quickly.

Disney announced the reshuffle on Friday with Hulu executives now reporting directly to leaders of Disney’s D2C and international business.

The changes have occurred after Disney agreed to acquire Comcast’s minority stake in Hulu after taking on full ownership of the streaming company.

Disney chairman of D2C and international Kevin Mayer said in a statement Friday: “I want to thank Randy for his leadership the last two years as CEO and for his collaboration the past several months to ensure an exceptionally bright future for Hulu.

“With the successful launch of Disney+, we are now focused on the benefits of scale within and across our portfolio of DTC businesses.”

Freer held the position for just over two years where he oversaw the subscriber growth at around 68%, taking it to 28.5 million paid members as of September last year. He was previously COO at Fox Networks Group. He also led rights acquisitions for Fox Sports and oversaw negotiations with the NFL, MLB and Nascar.

Freer said in a statement: “I am grateful for my time at Hulu and the opportunity to work and learn with an incredibly talented and dedicated group of people.

“I also want to thank Kevin and the Walt Disney Company, as well as NBCUniversal and Fox, for providing me the opportunity to lead Hulu during a time of tremendous growth and significant industry transformation.

“Hulu has established itself as a leading choice for consumers looking for the best TV service available today, and I am confident Hulu will thrive inside Disney under DTCI’s leadership and resources.”

According to various reports, Disney sees Hulu as a key piece of its three-pronged streaming strategy alongside Disney+ and ESPN.

Its services currently come bundled together at a discount. Hulu was the sole streamer that wasn’t completely integrated into the rest of Disney’s D2C operations.

Disney is looking to turn its streaming investment into a profitable business, and integrating Hulu is key to capitalise on revenue and content.

Mayer added: “Further integrating the immensely talented Hulu team into our organisation will allow us to more effectively and efficiently deploy resources, rapidly grow our presence outside the US and continue to relentlessly innovate.

“There is a tremendous amount of opportunity ahead, and I am confident in our ability to accelerate our positive momentum and better serve consumers.”