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Vessel CEO Jason Kilar Wants You to Give Him Three Dollars a Month: The Code/Media Interview

The man behind Hulu has a new pitch: Instead of watching TV shows for free, he wants you to pay to watch YouTube stars.

Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Would you pay $3 a month to see a video you can see somewhere else for free?

You will if you’re a big fan of the people who made that video, and if you can see that video earlier than anyone else, says Jason Kilar. The former Hulu CEO’s new startup Vessel is based around the idea, and last month he came to Code/Media to explain what he’s doing and why he thinks it will work.

Kilar and Vessel have plenty of skeptics, but they’ve certainly got the attention of the video world, too. Go ask the folks at YouTube (off the record). So it’s definitely worth hearing Kilar make his case.

And since we had Kilar onstage, it made sense to talk to him about his last job, and what worked there and what didn’t. It’s sort of hard to remember now, but Hulu made an enormous impact on the media world — and on video watchers — when it debuted in 2008. If Kilar wants to have that same effect again, he’s got his work cut out for him.

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