37 | CEO, HULU

The technoscenti snickered when Jason Kilar launched the video-streaming site Hulu in March 2008. The idea that online viewers would sit through commercials to watch TV programming—and that multiple networks would cooperate and contribute to the same site—seemed laughable. As one blogger pointed out, hulu means "cease and desist" in Swahili. But a year later, Kilar's site is an ideal marriage of old and new media—presenting a variety of TV content, from skits to full episodes, offered by networks and 100 other providers. And unlike YouTube, Hulu has a business plan, because its audience—some 25 million strong—is actually eyeballing the ads. "We only show a quarter of the ads that network TV does," Kilar says. "But people remember them." Hence he can charge his fast-growing stable of advertisers a premium. Now that Kilar's taking his TV-on-the-Internet model overseas, he'll draw on the same televangelist skills that convinced competitors like NBC, Fox, and Viacom that salvation lies in coexisting on Hulu. "Piracy is our biggest competitor," Kilar says. "But if you give people a high-quality, free alternative, they'll make the right choice."

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