clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hulu’s CEO is going to run Sony TV, and another Fox exec is going to run Hulu

Mike Hopkins is leaving the streaming service, replaced by Randy Freer.

Elizabeth Moss in “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hulu
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.

Hulu, the streaming video service owned by several big media companies, is replacing its CEO: Mike Hopkins, the former 21st Century Fox executive who has been running the company since 2013, is out. Randy Freer, another Fox executive who has been president and chief operating officer of that company’s TV business, is in.

Hopkins is leaving to run Sony TV, which has been restructuring its leadership over the last year; he’ll report to new Sony Pictures Entertainment boss Tony Vinciquerra, who worked with Hopkins at Fox.

The move comes less than two months after Hulu made a splash at the Emmys with “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

But it’s unclear how Hulu’s underlying business is performing: While the streaming service said it saw a bump in subscribers after winning multiple Emmy awards in September, it hasn’t announced subscriber numbers in more than a year.

This year, Hulu also launched its own version of an “over the top” pay TV service, which offers live and recorded TV; that $40-a-month service, which launched in May, reportedly has 300,000 subscribers.

Hulu is jointly owned by Fox, Disney and Comcast*, which have traditionally used the service as a place to show their reruns, though one of Hopkins’s jobs has been to build up original programs to rival Netflix. Last year, Time Warner bought a 10 percent stake in Hulu, valuing it at $5.8 billion.

Hopkins took over Hulu four years ago, which is a significant number for a venture-backed company but shouldn’t be relevant at Hulu, where the equity is divided up among its big media ownership. He followed Jason Kilar, who enjoyed great early success but frequently clashed with his network owners.

Under Hopkins, Hulu has been a more placid place. Beyond its breakthrough at the Emmys, the most newsworthy thing about the service has been the fact that it has been increasingly interested in buying up the rights to shows produced by its owners — which in earlier years might have been bought up by Netflix.

* Comcast’s NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Vox Media, which owns this site.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.