The race for dominance of the streaming video market continues to heat up, with the biggest names in the arena jockeying for talent. AT&T (NYSE:T) made a big move in that regard on Wednesday, announcing Hulu founder and former CEO Jason Kilar would be taking over its WarnerMedia unit in May.
His background is ideal. Not only did Kilar help create Hulu in 2007, but after stepping down as its CEO in 2013, he became the co-founder and CEO of streaming platform Vessel. Vessel was eventually acquired by Verizon in 2016 in an effort to bolster its online video ambitions. Hulu, of course, is now a wholly owned property of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) following a series of acquisitions that gradually gave it greater control of the service.
WarnerMedia's new chief will take the helm at a challenging time for the company.
AT&T has struggled on the television front, particularly with its satellite TV service DirecTV. It finally acquired WarnerMedia in the middle of last year, hoping access to a film and television studio would give it easier access to quality content, which it did. Warner not only makes films, but it owns television channels like WB, TruTV, CNN, and Turner Classic Movies as well. Its prize is premium television venue HBO, and the direct-to-consumer services that also fall under the HBO umbrella. AT&T has even planned a new broad-scope streaming service called HBO Max, which is expected to launch soon.
That service will enter an already crowded market though, which already consists of Hulu, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Disney+, and soon a major streaming competitor from Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) called Peacock.