The future of media as told by Hulu CEO Jason Kilar

I had the opportunity to attend an interesting lecture last night by Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu and fellow UNC j-school alum (go heels).

If you’re not familiar with it (and you should be), Hulu.com brings together video from more than 230 content partners, including FOX, NBC Universal, ABC and Comedy Central.hulu screenshot

This content is then made available at our every beck and call – for free. Since its inception in early 2007, Hulu has welcomed more than 38 million users and joined hands with 250 Fortune 500 advertisers. It is the second most popular video site on the Internet (behind YouTube, the mega-giant).

If you think that sounds like drastic growth, here’s the reality laid out by Kilar:

–       95% of all songs downloaded last year were not paid for

–       More video has been uploaded to YouTube in the last 2 months than if ABC, NBC, and CBS had been airing new content  24/7/365 since 1948 (when ABC began)

–       In 18 months, Hulu attracted more users (38 million to be exact) than the combined subscriber base of the nation’s two leading cable companies

The average person would point to the advent of the Internet for these surprising statistics. In Kilar’s words, “It’s not about the Internet. It’s about the customer. The Internet is just a means. It’s just a tool to deliver a much better customer experience.”

At the core, this is about convenience and user satisfaction. “In the end, customers are going to be served and be served very well,” Kilar said.

So what does that mean for the future of the media? Here’s what Kilar says we can look forward to:

–       Media will be what you want, when you want, how you want it

–       It will be in real-time (no more waiting for yesterday’s news)

–       It will be transparent and held accountable

–       It will give power and participation to the people (more interactivity!)

–       It will offer advertising that is actually relevant to its users and works well for marketers

It’s looking pretty good don’t you think?

Is there anything you would add to this list? Here’s a better question. How are we as communicators going to execute all of the above in conjunction with emerging technology?

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