Amid strategy tussles, Hulu to streamline board

As it looks for a recipe to compete with Netflix, Hulu is planning to streamline decision-making by reducing the size of its board, according to a report.

As it struggles to find a recipe that will let it compete more strongly with Netflix, Hulu is planning to streamline decision-making at the company by reducing the size of its board, a new report says.

Under the plan, the current 12-member board would be reduced by an unspecified number of seats, The Wall Street Journal reported, adding that Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger and News Corp. COO Chase Carey might be among those forfeiting their board status.

Disney (owner of ABC) and News Corp. (owner of Fox) are co-owners of TV- and movie-streaming site Hulu, along with NBC Universal, Providence Equity Partners, and Hulu workers. Disney, News Corp., and NBC Universal each claim three seats on the present board.

Last month, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar complained on his blog that "incumbents" (i.e., TV executives) were resisting change and implied that Hulu's backers were preventing the company from doing what it needs to do to fight rivals. There have also been numerous reports of disagreements between Hulu managers and their network overseers about how best to run the company .

It seems clear Hulu needs to fix that fast. Despite being a hit on its launch in 2007, the company has watched itself lapped several times over by rival Netflix. In 2010, Netflix nabbed $596 million in revenue in the fourth quarter alone. Hulu, on the other hand, has said it expects to make $500 million in revenue for all of 2011. And Netflix isn't the only worry: Amazon.com and Facebook have recently thrown their hats into the Web-entertainment ring.

The Journal cited "people familiar with [Hulu's] plans" and said representatives for Hulu, Disney, and News Corp. had declined to comment.

 

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