Jon Miller: Hulu still essential to broadcasters

Jon Miller News Corp. paidContent 2012Broadcasters don’t have to give up on Hulu to support their TV Everywhere ambitions.

That was one of the takeaways from Jon Miller, chief digital officer for News Corp. (s nws), who sat down for a one on one Wednesday with paidContent editor Staci Kramer during the paidContent 2012 conference in New York.

The backdrop: There’s been growing speculation that by supporting their four-year-old streaming video initiative, Hulu, partners Disney/ABC (s disn), News Corp./Fox and Comcast/NBCUniversal (s cmcsa) are undermining the ambitious goals of TV Everywhere, which is an attempt to transition the pay TV model to the multidevice era.

In fact, there’s been speculation that News Corp. and its partners might curtail Hulu’s growth because of this.

Not so, said Miller, who explained that media companies like News Corp. need business -to-consumer outlets like Hulu in order to survive.

“You have unbelievably scaled B-to-C platforms like Facebook, Google etc. And unless you want them to tell you exactly what your business is worth, you have to have your own direct connection with consumers,” Miller said.

TV Everywhere and Hulu “can co-exist,” he added.

Other topics addressed by Miller Wednesday:

— Asked by Kramer if fledgling iPad publication The Daily serves as a model for News Corp. as it looks to transition its print products into the digital era, he said the verdict is still out. “What we’re trying to figure out is how far it scales. If it can really scale, then it becomes a model,” Miller explained.

— Asked about Yahoo’s (s yhoo) struggles, Miller believes interim CEO Ross Levinsohn will solve the company’s long-standing “identity crisis” by putting its focus on media. With search and social media already saturated by bigger rivals, the role that’s up for grabs, Miller said, “is being the leading digital media company. That’s a battle worth fighting.” In regard to Levinsohn, he added, “I bet they’re going to take the interim off his name. I think he’s the right person.”

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