Jason Kilar

Comedy Impact Report '08: Web Heads

When YouTube first popped up, NBC risked having such comedy staples as “Saturday Night Live” lose their must-see status simply because viewers could watch the best sketches online.

Enter Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, previously of Amazon.com. Rather than discourage the process, Kilar unveiled a Fox- and U-approved content hub for fans to click and watch the nets’ top shows. The secret? Do it better (higher resolution, smoother streaming, even if it means sitting through ads).

“There’s no rocket science involved in saying if we can have a great user interface, we’ll attract users who would rather find legal content than illegal content,” says Andy Forssell, senior VP of content acquisition and distribution for the site.

Though Hulu initially focused on making full episodes available, visitors can take advantage of the video player’s interface, which enables them to create clips themselves and share them with friends.

And who determines what’s funny and what’s not? Hulu’s users, whose actions on the site are closely monitored, guide what gets featured. “People pick up on things really quickly,” Forssell says. “They do a lot of the work for us.”

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