In a lengthy Q&A with MediaPost, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar doesn’t spill the beans on any new products or deals, but reiterates a few things we’ve known for a while: The Web video company wants to launch overseas versions — “predicated on finding the right partners” — and is working on new technology to help people discover content and to deliver more relevant ads.
Meanwhile, Kilar says the company — a joint venture of NBC (GE) and News Corp. (NWS) — has enough funding to weather what’s expected to be an ugly period for online advertising: “We’re all good in terms of our $100 million-plus investment capital. We’re very frugal. That is a very generous amount of money, and we’re being very careful with it.”
Our question for Hulu: What’s the time frame for putting Hulu content on cable set-top boxes and similar devices? Hulu is great on a computer, but we still would prefer to watch most TV on our TV. (And since we don’t subscribe to cable any more, we’d gladly pay for a Hulu-grabbing gadget.)
Netflix (NFLX) spent 2008 launching its streaming service on many set-top boxes, ranging from a $99 box by Roku to Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 — but Netflix doesn’t (yet) have fresh content like Hulu. Meanwhile, NYC startup Boxee has released set-top box software that lets you watch Hulu on a hacked Apple TV, but Apple could break that any time it wants. And you’ll eventually be able to watch Hulu content via Sling Media’s $300 SlingCatcher and Sling.com portal, but that’s not a direct Hulu-to-TV product.
So where are the Hulu-to-TV gadgets? Kilar doesn’t say, but notes that the “access point is not … just the PC; appliances like refrigerators are connected to the Internet.”