The Hulu board of directors has added a familiar name.
Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden has been given a board seat at the streaming service, which underwent a leadership shakeup with longtime board member Randy Freer replacing Mike Hopkins as CEO less than a month ago. The choice of Walden is, among other things, a vote of confidence by her own bosses, and an acknowledgement of both her insight and her success over decades at what is now 21st Century Fox.
In addition to a much-needed female perspective on an otherwise entirely male board, Walden brings with her rich studio experience, having co-run 20th Century Fox TV and its cable and streaming-focused offshoot for more than 15 years. The former has been responsible for smash hits including This is Us, Modern Family and Family Guy, while the latter is behind Homeland and American Horror Story. More recently, Walden, with her longtime partner Gary Newman, added a broadcast network to her purview, giving her the perspective of a buyer as well as a seller. In that time, she has had a front-row seat to the changing ecosystem of television and the role a streamer has and will continue to play within it.
To be sure, Walden joins Hulu’s board at a critical moment for the service. Though there are a host of challenges, including a complicated multi-headed ownership structure and a domestic-only business, its recent Emmy-winning breakout The Handmaid’s Tale has helped it solidify its status as a top-tier premium outlet at a time of intense competition. Among the growth opportunities on the corporate side: a live bundle option launched earlier this year, along with recent deals with Spotify and Sprint to secure new customers and add-on offerings from HBO and Cinemax for additional content.
The board is filled out by Kevin Mayer, Ben Sherwood and Bruce Rosenblum from co-owner Disney and Peter Rice and Brian Sullivan from Fox. Hulu’s two other owners, Comcast and Time Warner, do not have seats of their own. Walden also sits on the board of directors for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo, UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Saban Free Clinic.