AT&T has appointed former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar as the new head of WarnerMedia. That means he’ll oversee HBO, HBO Max, CNN, Warner Bros. and other WarnerMedia properties. It’s a bold choice. Kilar is known for being a visionary in the streaming world, but is not as well known in the old-school Hollywood circles.
With this hire, AT&T has indicated that they believe streaming is the future for WarnerMedia. But among some of the more traditional Hollywood players, there’s skepticism about the timing of Kilar’s appointment. He’s due to start May 1, at a moment when he won’t even be able to meet new employees face to face because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, when the SXSW festival was cancelled due to coronavirus, it was a massive blow to filmmakers set to premiere their movies at the Austin gathering. Now Amazon is offering a virtual replacement. Filmmakers who had been scheduled at the festival can opt to have their projects stream on Amazon Prime Video during a 10-day virtual festival in late April.
The streaming option can’t replace the full in-person festival experience, but it could be a way for some of the films to find distribution.