Advanced Television

Hulu: ‘Strategic’ reorganisation

June 4, 2018

US streaming service Hulu has announced a new structure that it says “aligns the company around subscriber journey, technology products, content and advertising to drive the company’s next phase of growth”.

Dan Phillips, the executive behind TiVo’s transformation into a complete video experience, will lead Hulu technology and product teams as CTO, while Jaya Kolhatkar of Walmart Labs Joins Hulu in a newly-created Chief Data Officer role.

As the company continues to scale its subscriber base, add thousands of new hours of content, develop award-winning original series, increase its premium advertising offerings and expand its footprint in the live pay -TV space, it says the reorganisation will allow its business more effectively to serve and delight consumers and drive overall growth.

The new structure aligns its executive management and teams around four strategic priorities: the subscriber journey, technology & products, content and advertising. The company says the new structure, effective immediately, will bring more agility, technical stability and alignment on the customer throughout Hulu as it increases its pace of growth and innovation.

“As one of today’s top direct-to-consumer entertainment brands, led by technology, innovation and data, Hulu has an enormous opportunity to lead the media and advertising industries into the future,” said Hulu CEO Randy Freer. “By adding new expertise and capabilities to our executive ranks and creating greater alignment around our customers, we are positioning Hulu to grow more rapidly, innovate more quickly and connect consumers even more deeply with the content they love.”

Phillips will be responsible for aligning the company’s technical and product strategy with its core business strategy to more effectively innovate and deliver on consumer and partner needs.

“Dan brings deep technical expertise, strategic business sensibilities and a proven track record of driving large technology and product organisations through massive industry transformation,” said Freer. “He’s a strong operator who has had a front row seat to changing TV consumer behaviors for many years, and is the right fit to lead our technology and product teams as we continue to innovate and build a complete entertainment experience for the future.”

Phillips transformed TiVo’s product from a DVR-centric offering to a cloud-based service delivering a complete video experience on an array of devices and connected TVs.

With the goal of super-serving Hulu viewers and creating more alignment across the company’s consumer-facing teams, Chief Marketing Officer Kelly Campbell is expanding Hulu’s marketing organisation to assume responsibility for the subscriber journey – from acquisition, engagement and retention, to viewer experience and research – across all of Hulu’s on-demand and Live TV plans. In addition, this group will now oversee Hulu’s subscriber partnerships, including its current relationships with Spotify and Sprint.

The announcement also reflects the departure of Ben Smith, Senior Vice President, Experience, who will retire in July.

As the lines between live and on-demand viewing become increasingly blurred for consumers, Hulu is restructuring its content function to deliver the most robust, immersive programming experiences across all of its offerings – regardless of whether live or on demand. Moving forward, Hulu’s content teams will be organised into two groups, aligned around two core capabilities: 1) acquired on-demand and live content partners, and 2) the creative community for Hulu Originals.

First, Hulu is combining its live TV and SVoD content licensing, acquisition and business functions into a single group, Content Partnerships. This new structure allows Hulu to speak with one, unified voice to its current and potential content partners. In addition, this group will be responsible for expanding Hulu’s content offering to include more premium add-ons and innovative new formats.

Second, the company’s original programming, and its relationships with creators, producers and studios, will continue being managed by the Hulu Originals team, but will now operate as a dedicated business function, led by Senior Vice President of Content, Craig Erwich, who will report to Freer.

With this new structure and the related changes in scope, Senior Vice President of Partnerships & Distribution Tim Connolly and Chief Content Officer Joel Stillerman have decided to leave the company. Hulu is conducting a search for a head of the new Content Partnerships group and is eliminating the Chief Content Officer role.

“Ben, Tim and Joel have all played a significant role in getting Hulu to the strong position it is in today. They will forever be a part of Hulu’s success story, and we wish them the very best in their next endeavours,” said Freer.

Hulu’s Advertising Sales group will continue reporting to Senior Vice President of Ad Sales Peter Naylor, as the team tracks toward its most successful Upfront yet, ramps up its focus on new advertising products and innovative integrations, and prepares to begin selling dynamically-inserted ads in Hulu’s Live TV service.

Powering all of Hulu’s core business areas is the company’s vast repository of data. Hulu has appointed Kolhatkar to be responsible for elevating Hulu’s customer intelligence, implementing strong data governance and driving a culture of objective, data-driven decision making across the company. She will officially join Hulu in its Santa Monica headquarters on July 2nd.

“The combination of powerful content and deep consumer insights is what will define the future of media and advertising. With her years of experience managing, analysing and governing data for many of the world’s largest companies, Jaya brings the strong leadership and expertise Hulu needs to deliver more meaningful experiences to consumers and more effective solutions to brands,” said Freer.

All of Hulu’s shared services functions – Finance, Legal, Corporate Communications and Talent & Organization – will continue operating as usual, reporting directly to Freer.

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