DealBook: Start-Ups Are Suffering – The New York Times

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AT&T hired Jason Kilar, the former C.E.O. of the streaming service Hulu, to lead its vast entertainment and news empire, spanning HBO, CNN and Warner Bros. The move comes ahead of the rollout of HBO Max, a long-awaited streaming service.

Mr. Kilar will replace John Stankey, the longtime AT&T executive who has overseen WarnerMedia since its creation nearly two years ago. Mr. Stanley had come under criticism for his leadership of the unit, during which key executives like Richard Plepler, the longtime head of HBO, left. (Mr. Stankey will remain president of AT&T and a candidate to become its next C.E.O.)

Our colleague Ed Lee gives us his read of the move:

Mr. Kilar is an unusual choice for AT&T, because he’s an iconoclast. In 2011, when he was running Hulu, he wrote what is probably one of the all-time great corporate memos.

It was part manifesto, part screed: TV networks aired too many commercials, and cable bundles weren’t great for consumers, he wrote. People will stop paying for overpriced channels and will want services that let them watch what they want when they want. This was in 2011.

After Mr. Kilar left Hulu, he largely kept a low profile. This is a big return to the spotlight for him.

It’s easy for executives to say their businesses are “recession-proof” when times are good and a downturn is hypothetical. It’s something else when they’re staring down one of the most sudden, severe downturns in modern history. But in recent weeks, some executives mustered the courage to do just that during analyst conference calls.

“We’re not recession-proof, but we are certainly — we feel like recession-resistant.” — Jay Stasz, the C.F.O. of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings (March 19)

“Gaming has proven itself to be fairly recession-proof. In times of belt-tightening, it is the smaller affordable luxuries that endure.” — Ann Hand, the C.E.O. of Super League Gaming (March 12)

“Self-storage has proven to be very resilient in a downturn. It’s certainly not recession-proof, but it is recession-resilient.” — Arlen Nordhagen, the chairman of Life Storage (March 2)

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