The battle lines have been drawn. And Hulu CEO Randy Freer is standing smack dab in the middle of them.
Hulu has always been a double agent in the streaming-video revolution—it’s an alternative to traditional TV, but is owned by legacy media companies. After a flurry of M&A activity, 60% of Hulu is now in the hands of the Walt Disney Company, 30% is owned by Comcast, and AT&T has the remaining 10%.
Those owners are also placing other bets on streaming video that could compete directly or indirectly with Hulu. Disney, which launched a subscription service for ESPN this year, is preparing another video platform that will encompass its most popular brands such as Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. And WarnerMedia, newly absorbed into AT&T, is building on the success of HBO with another service that would include more WarnerMedia brands.