Video Anywhere, Anytime


(click thumbnail)Jason KilarJason Kilar, CEO of Hulu, the recently launched online video joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp, will present a keynote address at the NAB Show touching on the next generation of online video entertainment. The presentation, which takes place Wednesday, April 16 at 5:00 p.m. in Room S222 of the LVCC, is part of a keynote series aimed at delivering “compelling perspectives from some of Hollywood’s leading content creators and industry visionaries who are transforming the entertainment business,” according to event organizers.

Hulu is a free online video service that streams premium television shows, movies and clips to users in the United States. Announced as a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp. in March 2007, the company chose the name Hulu when the Web site went beta in late August. Its TV menu includes full-length episodes from the NBC and Fox networks, as well as shows from Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, Sci Fi, Style, Sundance and Oxygen.

Jason Kilar joined Hulu after nearly a decade at Amazon, where he served as senior vice president for worldwide application software, reporting directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. During his career at Amazon, Kilar served as vice president and general manager of Amazon’s North American media businesses, leading the company’s entry into the video and DVD markets. Kilar began his career with The Walt Disney Co., where he worked for Disney Design & Development.

TV TECHNOLOGY: The theme of your upcoming April 16 keynote speech at the convention is described by NAB as “trends and technologies that are enticing content providers to distribute and deliver content as never before.” What does that mean to you?

KILAR: The title of the keynote is TV 2.0—“Video When, Where and How You Want It.” The focus will be on the combination of innovative advertising and technology, and how distribution models enable content creators and distributors to rapidly and profitably deliver content to consumers across the Web. Attendees will get insight on the growing opportunity for content creators, distributors and advertisers when media is made available on consumers’ terms.

TV TECHNOLOGY: What do you think are the top three “terms” users demand from providers delivering content?

KILAR: When, where and how they want it. It is the central part of Hulu’s mission statement: to help people find and enjoy the world’s premium content when, where and how they want it. Whether it is three in the morning, on someone’s lunch hour, at home or at work, at or at other Web site “neighborhoods” that users visit, users should be able to consume the media they want.

New models of distribution that give users more control of sharing as well as an outlet for conversation, are proving to be very effective at maximizing the audience for a given show or film. Services such as Hulu enable content to find its audience (and vice versa) anywhere that audience is online.

TV TECHNOLOGY: Can you describe an example of what Hulu does to help viewers find content and vice versa?

KILAR: The Hulu library has many of prime time’s top shows, but we also offer archived classics like “The A-Team,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” or “Airwolf.” These shows have not been available for years and yet they are some of our most popular shows on the Hulu service. We’re finding that if you [offer to] make [finding] great content truly easy—available anytime, only a click away, with the ability to clip and share—consumers will take you up on that offer.

TV TECHNOLOGY: Can you name a feature on Hulu that optimizes user control and flexibility with their media experience?

KILAR: Hulu allows you to clip, share or embed full episodes or clips of all of the content that is available on our service. If I want to share just one joke from Jay Leno’s monologue from last night I can clip a segment of the video and share it via e-mail. Or, I can take the entire movie “Master and Commander” and embed it on my Web site or social networking page. This type of viral, open distribution of premium TV and movie content is a big step forward for users and content owners alike.

TV TECHNOLOGY: What other new technologies are used by Hulu, and what are their applications?

KILAR: Hulu was one of the first users of the H.264 codec, in conjunction with Adobe’s Flash technology, to provide HD quality content through Hulu’s HD gallery ( I often watch Hulu content via a 60-inch plasma TV connected to my laptop and am just amazed at how far we’ve advanced from the days of postage-stamp sized grainy video.

TV TECHNOLOGY: Can you give an example of innovative advertising, preferably one used by Hulu?

KILAR: We present the opportunity for the same company to tell a story through a number of 15-second spots over the course of a program like “30 Rock.” Companies like Royal Caribbean tell stories 15 seconds at a time during the course of the show. Given that Royal Caribbean “owns” that specific viewing session for that specific viewer, we’re finding that recall rates are higher and the brand impression and association is that much stronger. We’re also finding that recall rates and brand association are strong due to the clean, clutter-free design of the Hulu service.

TV TECHNOLOGY: What is the outlook for the industry in general and Hulu in particular in regard to content distribution and content commerce?

KILAR: Online TV show consumption, online video advertising, and overall video consumption have each tripled in the past 24 months. There is an increasing demand for premium programming online. With content owners bringing more and more content online, users will also want more control and flexibility with their media experience. Hulu is committed to being at the forefront of making media truly easy for consumers.