tech

Hulu CEO to step down as Disney consolidates operations

Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer division, said in the statement he plans to combine Hulu with the rest of Disney’s streaming operations.

Disney will give investors an update on the performance of its streaming efforts on Tuesday, when it reports quarterly results.
Disney will give investors an update on the performance of its streaming efforts on Tuesday, when it reports quarterly results. (REUTERS)

Hulu Chief Executive Officer Randy Freer is stepping down from the streaming service, now that parent Walt Disney Co. is moving to more tightly integrate it with the rest of its online businesses.

Freer will remain in his role for the next several weeks, according to a statement Friday. Disney will give investors an update on the performance of its streaming efforts on Tuesday, when it reports quarterly results.

Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney's direct-to-consumer division, said in the statement he plans to combine Hulu with the rest of Disney's streaming operations. The integration had already begun with the appointment last summer of Dana Walden, the chief of Disney's TV studios, to oversee production of original programming at the service.

Hulu began life in 2007 as a way for NBC and Fox to attract online viewers for their shows after their initial airing on their networks. Disney, which bought in to endeavor a couple years later, completed deals last year that gave it operational control over Hulu. The company agreed to buy out the last outside shareholder, Comcast Corp., by 2024.

Disney launched its newest streaming service, Disney+, in November. Hulu has benefited from a $13-a-month package that includes Disney+ and sports service ESPN+. At last count in September, Hulu had 28.5 million subscribers.

Freer, a TV veteran who spent much of his career at Fox, joined Hulu in October 2017, about six months after the premiere of the service's most successful original program, "The Handmaid's Tale."