Hulu CEO Jason Kilar Promises Original Programming

Jason Kilar - Hulu LLC News Conference - H - 2011
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Kilar rebounds from an incendiary blog post a year ago to reveal he's not surprised to still be running the company some detractors used to call "ClownCo."

Hulu will spend a chunk of the $500 million it has allocated for content acquisition this year on exclusive, original programming, CEO Jason Kilar said Tuesday.

"It's important for us to differentiate the service and create content not out there right now," he said during a presentation at the D: Dive Into Media conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

"Consumers are asking for it," Kilar said. "It does build up heavy differentiation, but it's not 'the thing' on our agenda. It's part of it."

Hulu's original content thus far includes workplace dramedy Battleground set for debut Feb. 14, as well as a documentary series called A Day in the Life and a travel show called Up to Speed.

Kilar began his presentation by addressing a blog post 12 months ago that was critical of the entrenched TV industry. What he wrote was so incendiary that some folks speculated that the bosses at Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal -- equity partners in Hulu -- would fire him.

Asked by AllThingsD's Peter Kafka if he was surprised to still be running Hulu, Kilar said: "That's a great opening question. No."

"You have to be a bit crazy to do this," Kilar said.

A few years ago, "We were called ClownCo," he reminded Kafka and the audience.

"If it was so easy and if it was so obvious, everybody would do it," Kilar said.