Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2009 (Revised June 2010)

Hulu: An Evil Plot to Destroy the World?

by Anita Elberse and Sunil Gupta


In July 2009, Jason Kilar, the chief executive officer of Hulu, is debating whether the online video aggregator should move away from a purely advertising-supported model, and whether it should participate in an industry-wide initiative to develop and test "authentication" technology that can facilitate a subscription or pay-per-view model. The case traces the early years of Hulu, a joint venture between News Corp. and NBC Universal, that was initially met with strong skepticism but quickly became on the most celebrated and popular online video business. Provides in-depth information on how the company serves content owners, users, and advertisers. Describes the online video space in considerable detail, also covering economic and viewership statistics that enable a rich discussion of viable business models.

Keywords: Advertising; Business Model; Television Entertainment; Distribution Channels; Service Operations; Internet; Online Technology; Media and Broadcasting Industry; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;


Elberse, Anita, and Sunil Gupta. "Hulu: An Evil Plot to Destroy the World?" Harvard Business School Case 510-005, October 2009. (Revised June 2010.)