Executive Suite: Andy Forssell
Inside the online TV juggernaut as it branches into original programming and plans to spend $500 million in 2012.
Nearly five years into a venture backed by rivals Disney, NBCUniversal and News Corp., video hub Hulu is going where it's not yet gone: original scripted programming. The online video site's first entry, Battleground, is a workplace dramedy that explores the behind-the-scenes chaos of unruly political campaign workers from (500) Days of Summer's Marc Webb and actor-turned-director JD Walsh. The project, set to launch Feb. 14, joins a second season of Morgan Spurlock's documentary series A Day in the Life and Richard Linklater's travel show Up to Speed. The man behind the move is Hulu's senior vp content, Andy Forssell, 46, a Harvard Business School pal of chief executive Jason Kilar who has been at the site since its inception in 2007. Hulu's $7.99-a-month paid service, Hulu Plus, now offers north of 1.5 million subscribers some 45,000 TV episodes. (Visitors to the free, ad-supported site can watch nearly 37,000.) The result is about $420 million in revenue in 2011 and plans to invest $500 million in content in 2012. The Pennsylvania-born father of three, who began his career as an Army captain, sat down with THR in Hulu's Los Angeles headquarters to discuss his plans to bulk up on originals, how to save struggling shows and the future of Hulu ownership.
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