If any certainty can be expressed about News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) -NBCU (NYSE: GE) JV Hulu, it’s this: CEO Jason Kilar didn’t take the job to rubber stamp what was already in progress and shove it out the door. Instead, Kilar is putting his own stamp on the development and launch of the destination site and distribution network — one reason they aren’t launching as soon as called for in the initial planning. (Although, I am told by multiple sources, there’s a very good chance the distribution network could be ready for at least some use before the month ends.)
Kilar is bringing in his own team and different approaches to nearly everything, including the technology.As part of that, I have confirmed from multiple sources over the past few days, the company is in the midst of acquiring Mojiti, a Beijing video start-up, and its founder Eric Feng, formerly at Microsoft, will join senior management. I was told he would be CTO but another source has suggested that titles are in flux. (Turns out while I was flying today, the acquisition was reported by TechCrunch.)
The exact role Mojiti will play technologically is unclear. NBBC’s technology was supposed to be the foundation for the distribution network — the distribution player will be skinned to match various destinations — but, in its previous incarnation, it hadn’t operated on the kind of scale Hulu requires. The destination portal will have its own video player, which is where what Feng and his team have been working on may best fit in.
Feng is just part of the shifting staff at Hulu, which started life with a team borrowed from NBCU and News Corp. Many of those involved at the senior level, including some whose managers expected to stay with the new venture, are in the midst of returning to their respective companies. The mantra I’ve heard: Kilar wants his own team. There’s a fair amount of frustration from some involved in the process early on as they watch the reinventing of various wheels but Kilar has the backing of the board — ie Messrs. Chernin, Zucker and company — and he’s the one from the online customer experience background.
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