The architect behind the venture was George Kliavkoff, former NBC chief digital officer, who served as the site's original CEO and built its sturdy foundation, pulling in $100 million in funding from Providence Equity Partners and setting the overall strategy. Kliavkoff departed from NBC at the end of last year, but left the company in good hands with current CEO Jason Kilar (pictured), a ten-year vet of Amazon.com. Kilar had brought his previous company into the DVD and video markets and has been focused on optimizing Hulu's customer experience. The site gained enough traction to shoot up to number six on digital marketing stats firm ComScore's ratings of online video portals. That's not exactly closing in on YouTube's number one slot, but perhaps more important, industry observers are predicting Hulu will outpace the video king in terms of advertising revenue, thanks to a model that allows for ad sales in and around all of its content.
Not that Hulu hasn't had its own share of road bumps, however. Earlier this year, it ticked off its users with abrupt removal of episodes of the FX show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia—the risk of partners pulling their content being one drawback of this particular big media model. But Kilar handled the matter swiftly, and with the poise and smart transparency of a new era businessman, admitting on Hulu's blog that "we screwed up royally," negotiating with Sunny's owners to put the show temporarily back on the site and promising viewers that next time, Hulu will have "the decency of a reasonable warning before the content is taken down."
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