With media consumers moving at the speed of their modems in search of content, it’s no wonder Jason Kilar, CEO of the online video venture Hulu, believes a content provider’s mission is all about meeting audiences on their terms.
“The most important thing to remember is that media is an impulse business,” says Kilar, who is scheduled to offer a keynote address at Mip on April 8. “If you have an impulse to watch something at 2 a.m. on the Internet, you should be able to watch all of it or just some of it if that’s what you want to do.”
Kilar joins those who believe viewers aren’t just on the couch anymore. They’re on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. They’re on a BlackBerry or cell phone. The time they have to consume media sometimes comes in two-minute bursts. They want the ability to control the way they get content.
In short, they’re looking for a media experience that’s as customized as a no-whip, decaf, skinny mocha.
“Once you produce something that is a great story, then the challenge is, ‘How do I connect this with an audience and monetize it so I can earn a fair return?'” says Kilar, whose Hulu — a joint undertaking of News Corp. and NBC Universal — opened its online doors March 12. “The way to do that is to offer a couple different flavors of that product.”
Even with these options, Kilar doesn’t believe one form of media consumption is about to finish off another.
“I think both models are going to live long and prosper,” he says. “The experience of watching a beautiful 60-inch plasma screen TV to see the Super Bowl live is not going away, because that’s a great user experience.”
Kilar also cautions against seeing online content as something for the next generation.
“It’s so important to think about not just the emerging generation that’s talked about in the press but really all generations,” says Kilar, who insisted the interface of Hulu be so simple to use that his mother would be able to master it within seconds. “If you make media easy and user-focused, content will find the appropriate and large audience,” Kilar says.