Hulu’s CEO Kilar Stresses Need for Good Content

Content is still king in the online video world, but content aggregation and syndication are important strategies in the digital world, a panel of experts said here Wednesday.

The panel, titled “Future of Online Video,” took place at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.

“It absolutely starts with good content,” Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said. But American Idol and other hit shows may reach 25 million viewers on TV, but online aggregation allows it to potentially reach many more of the 300 million-plus population in the U.S., he added, by turning nonfollowers and casual followers on to the show.

Kilar also talked about syndication as being key. “We’re putting a lot of blood, sweat and tears into building,” he said. But since media usage is impulse-driven, the online video joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp. has embedded its content into more than 60,000 Web sites, including MySpace, he said.

“A destination (site) is important and necessary, but not sufficient,” Kilar told the UBS crowd. “There is a lot of value in being relevant in all the (online) neighborhoods people frequent.”

Sling Media Entertainment Group president Jason Hirschhorn also talked about the important role aggregators play in today’s digital world full of fragmented Web content.

After all, individual content creators can’t monetize video effectively, he said.

“Content will always be king,” he said. But because anyone can create content and there is so much fragmentation, “distribution certainly looks like king these days.”

What type of content works online?

Next New Networks CEO Lance Podell said humor is a key focus for his company’s offers. Overall, “it does start with whether the content connects with viewers,” he said.

Podell also said his team is branding a network and branding shows and using both — the shows and network — to attract and bring people back.

In a sign that people can consume Web content similar to traditional TV viewing, he said many of Next New Networks’ users these days come back at the time a new episode of shows has been posted.