The news is all over the Internet about Hulu selecting the Fox Networks Group President of Distribution, Mike Hopkins, but who is he and why is he the right choice for Hulu?
First, here’s his bio as posted by Fox Networks:
Michael Hopkins serves as President, Distribution, Fox Networks where he oversees all distribution strategy, sales and marketing activity on behalf of Fox’s 45 linear and non-linear, national and regional domestic television networks and high-definition television and video on demand extensions. He also is responsible for developing digital strategies for Fox Networks Group and oversees network distribution at Fox Broadcasting Company.
A veteran Fox executive, Mr. Hopkins has played a key role in helping Fox Networks experience tremendous growth. He was instrumental in Fox’s landmark retransmission consent and channel carriage agreements with Time Warner Cable, DISH Network, Cablevision and DirecTV, as well as the successful launches of several networks, including BTN (formerly Big Ten Network), National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, FUEL TV, FOX College Sports, and FOX Soccer Plus. He was elevated to President in July 2008 after serving as General Manager and Executive Vice President of Affiliate Sales.
Mr. Hopkins joined Fox as Director of Affiliate Sales in 1997. While there, he represented Fox’s first two national cable networks–FX and Fox Movie Channel–to cable systems in the Pacific Northwest, and he was also responsible for representing the FOX Sports Networks West Region (since re-launched as Prime Ticket).
Mr. Hopkins moved over to Fox’s national accounts team in June 1999 as Vice President of Affiliate Sales. Four years later, he became Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales in 2003. In May 2006, he was named Executive Vice President of Affiliate Sales & Marketing and added General Manager to his title in April 2007.
Prior to Fox, Mr. Hopkins spent time at The Weather Channel and Harte-Hanks Communications, an international media company focused on marketing and direct mail.
Among his other responsibilities, Mr. Hopkins serves on the board of directors for the National Geographic Channel. He earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA in 2001, and previously earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach in 1990.
Second, and this is the hard question: why him? I would think Hulu needs a visionary to craft a more robust direction for the online streaming company, and not a corporate bureaucrat, but the Hulu Board, and owners Disney and News Corporation, seems to feel Hulu needs a corporate bureaucrat.
And on that note, Disney and News Corporation consistently fail to promote Hulu on their networks. Why that is, is a mystery to me. But given the spread of properties both Disney and News Corporation own, the person on the street should know that they own Hulu, and can use it to watch their content.
Anyway, here’s Hopkins’ email to Hulu employees, as posted on the Hulu blog:
While I have been on the Hulu board for a few years and have worked with some of you before in that capacity, I am thrilled to be joining the Hulu team as the new CEO. The official announcement will be going out shortly, but I wanted to make sure to share the news directly with you all first.
I want to thank Andy Forssell for his incredible work and tremendous leadership. His imprint on the company is, and always will be, immeasurable.
I am really excited about my new role. You are a remarkable team. You have built a product and brand that has earned its place among the top tier of consumer technology companies. You have built a product and service that your customers (users, content owners, and advertisers) simply love.
People love Hulu because the product is fantastic. This is a testament to the engineering excellence and product development focus that is so much a part of the DNA here at Hulu. You continue to innovate every day. For these reasons, and so many others, I am proud to be a part of the next chapter for Hulu.
The fact is, through all the recent uncertainty not only have you kept this business together, but you’ve continued to deliver on every key performance metric. In fact, you are delivering one of the strongest years Hulu has ever seen: We expect revenues to be close to a billion dollars this year, and Hulu Plus subscribers continue to climb.
With the foundation you have built, the significant capital infusion of three quarters of a billion dollars, and our partners aligned and fully supportive of what we need to get it done, the sky is the limit for Hulu. I am looking forward to working with you all.
I can’t wait to get started and meet you all in person.