US Top News and Analysis

Hulu CEO Randy Freer out as Disney moves to absorb the streaming service

Key Points
  • Hulu announced on Friday that Randy Freer will step down as CEO of the company.
  • Disney took "full operational control" of the online streaming service last May from Comcast.
  • Disney plans to "more closely integrate Hulu" into its business operations.
Randy Freer
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Hulu announced on Friday that Randy Freer will step down as CEO of the company.

In a press release on Friday, Hulu said that Disney plans to "more closely integrate Hulu" into its business operations and that Hulu's executives would report to Disney's direct-to-consumer and international executives.

Last May, Disney took "full operational control" of the online streaming service, which was originally started as a joint venture including the company with NBCUniversal, News Corporation, and others.

Disney had gradually built up its ownership stake in the service, and Comcast (which owns NBCUniversal) was the last remaining partner. In May. Comcast handed over operational control and agreed to sell its remaining 33% stake to Disney over the next five years.

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"I am grateful for my time at Hulu, and the opportunity to work and learn with an incredibly talented and dedicated group of people. I also want to thank Kevin and The Walt Disney Company, as well as NBCUniversal and Fox, for providing me the opportunity to lead Hulu during a time of tremendous growth and significant industry transformation," Freer said in a statement.

"Further integrating the immensely talented Hulu team into our organization will allow us to more effectively and efficiently deploy resources, rapidly grow our presence outside the U.S. and continue to relentlessly innovate." Disney's Kevin Mayer, who is the chairman of the Direct-to-Consumer & International organization at Disney, said in a statement.

Last summer, Freer said that he expected Hulu to produce more original content after Disney took control of the service.

Hulu competes against a growing number of similar online video services. CNBC parent NBCUniversal is launching a service called Peacock soon, and AT&T's WarnerMedia is planning an additional service under the HBO brand name. Netflix is the current leader in the market with over 151 million paid subscribers, and Apple has spent billions on content for its own service, Apple TV+.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.