Disney Promotes Kelly Campbell to Run Hulu

Marketing Masterminds - Kelly Campbell - Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Hulu

The Google veteran will lead Hulu's on demand live streaming business as the company is further integrated into parent Disney's direct-to-consumer group.

Disney has promoted Hulu chief marketing officer Kelly Campbell to run the streaming service. 

Campbell will become president of Hulu and will lead the streamer's on demand and live streaming businesses as the company is further integrated into parent Disney's direct-to-consumer group. She comes to the role following the January announcement that Hulu CEO Randy Freer would step down after a little more than two years in the post.  

In her new role, Campbell will work with Disney's film and TV studios on original programming for Hulu. She will report to Disney direct-to-consumer and international chairman Kevin Mayer. 

"Kelly is an immensely talented leader who has been a driving force in defining Hulu’s brand vision and strategy," Mayer said Tuesday in a statement. "She has built a tremendous multi-talented team and developed strategic campaigns that helped double Hulu’s subscriber base. Our senior leadership team is excited to welcome her aboard and can’t wait to work together to further grow Hulu’s footprint in the US and beyond." 

Campbell joined Hulu in 2017 from Google, where she oversaw growth marketing for the search giant's cloud division. For the last three years, the marketing veteran oversaw subscriber growth, brand, content and business-to-business marketing, research and viewer experience for the streamer and was key to its substantial growth. In early February, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that Hulu has 30.7 million U.S. subscribers. 

“This is a time of tremendous growth and transformation for Hulu, and I am incredibly energized by the opportunity ahead as we enter into this next chapter,” said Campbell. “The Hulu team is among the brightest, most technologically and creatively audacious in the industry, and I know we are going to do great things as part of the pioneering and equally bold team Kevin has built at DTCI.”

Disney acquired full operational control of Hulu in spring 2019. It was largely business as usual within the streamer as Disney's top brass focused on the Nov. 12 launch of Disney+, though oversight of Hulu scripted series was moved under Disney TV Studios chairman Dana Walden. Now, Hulu is being integrated more deeply within the Disney direct-to-consumer group, which also houses Disney Streaming Services and oversees the operations of ESPN+. 

During Disney's quarterly earnings call with investors of Feb. 4, Iger noted that the integration would allow the direct-to-consumer group "to operate more efficiently and effectively as we look to expand our domestic consumer base, as well as our presence outside of the U.S." The company has said it would like to take Hulu international but is waiting until after Disney+ is rolled out more broadly overseas. 

With its established subscriber base in the U.S., Hulu is key to Disney's three-pronged streaming strategy. The streamer will serve as the main home for adult programming from Disney brands and will soon launch the FX on Hulu banner where it streaming library content and originals from the cable network. However, Hulu's growth has required an investment and it continues to operate at a loss, which contributed to a direct-to-consumer operating loss of $693 million for the final three months of 2019. Disney had said it expects Hulu to become profitable by 2023 or 2024.