Keeping Hulu in the Fast Lane

NAME: Heather Moosnick
TITLE: Senior VP, Content Partnerships
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Drives Hulu’s content partnership and acquisition strategy across live and on-demand subscription streaming services. Joined from Google, where she was head of global business development, strategy and content partner management for YouTube TV and Google Fiber. Led teams that secured content deals for the launch of YouTubeTV. Negotiated CBS’s first content deals with Netflix and YouTube.
QUOTABLE: “It’s been an amazing ride so far, and we all know the media industry’s transformation is really just beginning.”

Heather Moosnick

Heather Moosnick

Heather Moosnick’s career has touched nearly every sector in the media industry over the past 25 years, from publishing, to TV, to music and back.

Moosnick, who joined Hulu last year to help drive content partnership and acquisition strategy, was a young associate at a law firm in the 1990s when she negotiated the programming and trademark deals that set up MTV Japan.

“I was instantly hooked on the TV business,” she said.

Soon she was working at Viacom’s MTV Networks International, doing more deals to launch channels around the world. She also started crafting early digital distribution deals, before streaming even was a thing in the U.S.

“Even more than the traditional TV business, I loved being on the front lines of creating new types of deals to help viewers access great content in more convenient ways,” she said.

As video streaming finally began to take hold in the U.S., she transitioned to the business side and “continued to get deeper into launching new digital services across the music and TV industries throughout my career.”

Moosnick has already been part of some notable milestones in streaming. She helped to launch CBS’s Audience Network, negotiating CBS’s first deals with Netflix and YouTube. She helped Warner Music get its music videos back onto YouTube in 2009 after talks broke down. And she did the first content deal that led to the launch of the YouTube Music and YouTube Premium services.

Top of her accomplishment list, though, was the work she did as head of content partnerships to help launch, in early 2017, the virtual MVPD called YouTubeTV. She was already at YouTube working on the launches of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium when the concept of a television package started to percolate, she noted.

“As soon as I saw the early product plans for YouTube TV, I couldn’t wait to jump in to make it a reality,” she said. “The rise of on-demand streaming services, and now digital MVPDs, is leading to the most fundamental transformation of the media landscape we’ve seen since the launch of cable.”

All of those experiences paved a path in late 2018 to Hulu, the 28 million-subscriber streaming provider, majority-owned by The Walt Disney Co., which started out as a primary source of “next-day” network shows before adding its own originals like The Handmaid’s Tale, Casual and The Path. Hulu CEO Randy Freer brought her on to help the service continue its upward progress against stiff competition such as streaming powerhouses Amazon and, of course, Netflix.

“Heather is a highly strategic, creative and relationship-oriented executive who has spent her entire career driving change and innovation,” Freer said in hiring her in October. “As Hulu looks to transition television from a gatekeeper-driven experience to one that’s led by the consumer, Heather’s leadership and fearless approach to evolving antiquated business rules make her a perfect fit for our team.”

Moosnick said her new role puts her in “an even more unique and creative position as a deal-maker” across Hulu’s on-demand and live streaming services.

She joined Hulu at a pivotal time. In just the first eight months since she’s been there, Disney acquired Hulu from Fox, Turner and NBCUniversal, and Hulu is set to join the Disney “super bundle” with Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99.

Moosnick and her team continue to help Hulu load up on content, from popular TV and movies “to the best superfan content.”

One recent content deal she points to is a food-focused programming pact with Vox Media Studios, David Chang’s Majordomo Media and Chrissy Teigen’s Suit & Thai Productions. The multi-year, multi-show partnership will see Hulu develop and produce premium food-centric programming for the platform.

Ready for the Shakeout

Moosnick might be biased but she thinks Hulu is well-positioned to survive the TV shakeout.

“I’m personally betting on Hulu because I think it’s in its own lane by offering a Live TV service alongside one of the richest catalogs of on-demand content, as well as giving viewers the option to choose between ad-supported and ad-free,” she said. “At $5.99 and soon as part of the Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu super bundle at $12.99, it’s easily the best value for the most ‘must-watch’ content on the market.”

Moosnick is “a born and bred New Yorker” who was an actress as a kid: at 10 she got her start in the old Yiddish theater on Broadway. Musical theater, she said, was her first love. She went to Northwestern University, then UCLA School of Law.

“While I eventually transitioned to the media world when it was time to pay off those college student loans, I think everything I’ve accomplished as a media executive ties back to what I learned in the theater: the importance of teamwork, preparation and — of course — knowing that no matter what happens, the show must go on!”

She’s moving to Los Angeles this summer for Hulu and is excited about it. She says her 9-year-old, Oscar, is a sports fan who proudly wears his “Hulu Has Live Sports” slippers. “Through this move,” she said, “he’s learning to be fearless in the face of big life changes and looking forward to making a name for himself on the local little league, flag football and basketball teams.”

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.