With analysts on the fence about its future, Hulu is hoping that fresh sales talent can boost its share of online advertising. Next week, the video venture is expected to bring in Peter Naylor as its new senior vice president of Sales.
Naylor, most recently executive vice president, sales at NBC News Digital, has worked across news, sports, and entertainment at the network, one of Hulu’s original founders.
“Peter contributed during the early days of Hulu during his time at NBC, when he was involved in the process of identifying Hulu’s charter advertisers,” Mike Hopkins, Hulu’s CEO, noted in a letter to employees on Monday.
At Hulu, Naylor will be taking the reins from interim head of sales Jim O’Donnell, who will soon report to Naylor as vice president of West Coast sales and advertising sales operations.
While with expressing his desire for a better sales team, Hopkins boasted in his letter that Hulu is coming off a “record breaking year.”
Some analysts, however, are not confident in Hulu's future. While research firm IDC recently estimated that Hulu had a 1.1% share of the digital ad marketplace, it said it expected that share “to stagnate or even decline going forward.”
During the third quarter of last year, IDC estimated that Hulu had a 3.9% share of all display ad dollars -- down from 4.1% during the prior quarter.
One problem is that Hulu’s sales team has not had the best content to sell. Analysts have even noted that the company has yet to deliver a hit on par with Netflix’s original series “House of Cards.”
“Hulu launched more than 20 originals in 2013 and stated that it plans to double that number over the next few years, but it did not seem like any of these series generated the type of buzz that Netflix's originals did in 2013 and that HBO’s series have been doing for decades," Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt noted in a report released last month.
Having yet to assume his new role, Naylor was not available to discuss the challenges facing Hulu, on Monday.