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Watchlist

Your very own Hulu personal assistant.

Overview

Hulu grew exponentially in its early years. And during that time, three separate features had been created to help users keep track of their shows & movies. Unfortunately, these features didn't work well together, so I spearheaded a project to completely overhaul them.

My Role

I was the lead Product Manager, came up with the concept, and was responsible for everything that went into the launch.

  • Research & Competitive Analysis
  • Strategy & Vision
  • Documentation & Wire-Framing
  • Coordination with Engineering Team
  • Co-authored the sorting algorithm patent
  • Roadmap & Prioritization
  • Launch marketing with PR & Video Production teams

Philosophy

Make it simple and convenient for users to save and consume content

Goals

  • Increase content consumption
  • Improve & simplify the user experience
  • Make it a seamless cross platform experience
  • Retire legacy features

Results

  • Granted patent on the sorting algorithm
  • Merged 3 separate features into 1
  • Launched simultaneously on 10+ platforms
  • (Quantitative results can be discussed offline)

Introducing Watchlist

Watchlist makes it easier than ever to kick back and get caught up on your favorite shows & movies.
Easy management

Automatically tracks your shows. And makes it easy to add more.

Watchlist keeps track of the shows you watch, and with one click, you can save anything else you find on Hulu – whether it’s a single episode, a full show, or even a movie.
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Patented Ordering

Just sit back and watch.

Since Watchlist knows what you've watched of each show, it makes it easy to pick up where you left off. It also learns from you, and sorts your shows and movies based on how you tend to watch them.
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Launch Devices

Pick up on any of your devices

At launch, Watchlist is available on all the most popular devices: PS3, TV, FireTV, Roku, iOS, Android, as well as Mac & PC web browsers.

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Press Coverage

What the press had to say

Watchlist addresses one of the larger issues with streaming services today: they haven’t yet solved the problem of helping you find and remember what it is you really want to watch.
It’s like visiting a local restaurant and the waiter having your drink of choice ready for you when you arrive, then bringing out your fav dessert whenever it’s on the menu, without you even having to order it. Sweet!
Apparently Hulu was listening as it has now launched Watchlist, its newest feature will make sure you never need to get off your couch again or miss an episode of your favorite shows.

The Process

This project took about a year from start to finish. I was originally tasked with "fixing the queue" but after I began working on that, I discovered we had a bigger problem. So, I proposed the creation of Watchlist, and was responsible for bringing it to life.

Experience Audit

I analyzed usage data for existing features, deep dove into Customer Support feedback, and built out a full audit of how Queue, Favorites, and Shows You Watch worked together. Or, rather, didn't work together.

User Insights

Data & Metrics

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Competitive Analysis

I also conducted comprehensive competitor analysis, detailing how other services handled similar features. I also researched the psychology of "why people collect" things.

Competitor Analysis

Psychology Research

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Strategy & Vision

Building on the insights gleaned from the research, I put together the outlines of a strategy and brought in key partners from other departments to work out all the details.

Vision

Strategy

Wireframes

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Product Road Show

As Watchlist was replacing features that were built into literally every app, it required a great deal of collaboration to launch. To aid in this, I built out comprehensive documentation, and went on a presentation road show to introduce every team to the project (which even took me to Beijing).

Documentation

Presentations

(Excerpts from a presentation I created for a Hulu all-hands event)

The Patent

In order to dramatically simplify the user experience, there was a lot we had to do behind the scenes. We invented a new technology to predict the order in which a user would want to watch their shows (taking into account factors like past viewing behavior, content freshness, time of day, etc.).
U.S. Patent #9560399
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Launch Activities

Partnering with Marketing & PR, I helped develop everything from the announcement blog post, email campaigns, and introductory launch video. Additionally, I worked closely with the customer support department to ensure they had everything they needed to support our customers.

Public Relations

Customer Support

Video Production

Email Marketing

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Roadmap & Prioritization

As with any major product initiative, the ultimate goal for Watchlist was going to take a few iterations. So, I worked with the technical teams from every platform to prioritize and build release roadmaps that helped us hit our launch target while giving us flexibility to add features in the future. Additionally, I coordinated our internal testing periods – both with our QA team as well as a company-wide "dogfooding" period.

Roadmap

Prioritization

QA Testing

Internal "Dogfood" Period

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The core team

While I was the lead for the project, I by no means did it alone. I worked closely with teams across the company, in almost every Hulu office – but mostly with those in Santa Monica, Seattle, and Beijing.

The four gentlemen called out here were the most instrumental in launching Watchlist. They're pretty exceptional people – if you need any of their skills, I highly recommend them.