Well, it was pretty clear to most people that this was coming: Jason Kilar is leaving Hulu, presumably with a huge payout. The exec's exit package has been estimated at $100 million and Kilar's presumed departure whenever he wants to go was more or less a foregone conclusion since Variety obtained a leaked memo sent in July outlining a "transition plan for [a] new CEO."
From Kilar's memo to staff: "I’ve decided to depart Hulu in Q1. I am currently working with the board to ensure there is ample runway to manage this transition." Kilar goes on to say that the "decision to depart has been one of the toughest I’ve ever made," but doesn't elaborate. There are plenty of reasons for a talented CEO to leave a company so deeply beholden to three of its biggest content providers (Disney, News Corp. and NBCUniversal, which each own major stakes), though. First and foremost may be that when Providence Equity Partners cashed out its stake in the company last year, it left the door open for founders like Kilar to take a major payout and move on.
Hulu is in a strange position. On the one hand, it's managed by three fierce competitors, none of which is that crazy about the idea of cooperating with the others. On the other hand, it's the only service with a connected TV app component that streams day-of and day-after content from multiple broadcast networks. It's the only thing, in other words, that does a reasonable job of taking the place of your rabbit ears for a large number of consumers who haven't been able to receive broadcast television over the air since the digital changeover (well, besides the oft-litigated Aereo).