Hulu’s Chief Content Officer Joel Stillerman is out, after just a year on the job. Stillerman’s exit is part of a restructuring at the streaming service, as content and distribution have now been divided into two separate groups: content partnerships and originals.
Craig Erwich remains as head of originals and will continue to oversee program development at Hulu. But insiders said the decision to switch up the company’s management structure is a nod to the fact that Hulu continues to expand its business in the content acquisitions and live pay TV spaces.
As part of the announcement, Hulu has named former TiVo exec Dan Phillips as its new Chief Technology Officer, while Walmart Labs’ Jaya Kolhatkar has been named Chief Data Officer, a new job at the company.
“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,” Hulu CEO Randy Freer said in a statement. “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.”
Stillerman’s exit comes as a surprise, given that the exec was only a year on the job, and had moved out to Los Angeles to take on the Hulu job after nearly ten years at AMC Networks — most recently as president of original programming and development for AMC and Sundance TV.
He had been named Hulu’s first-ever chief content officer, with a mandate to come up with a content strategy that will grow Hulu’s advertising revenue and subscriber growth.
Also departing is Tim Connolly, senior vice president of partnerships and distribution, now that Hulu’s live TV and subscription video on demand (SVOD) content licensing, acquisition and business functions have been merged into the single Content Partnerships group. Hulu will name a head of that group at a later time.
Per Hulu, “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.”
Now, with Stillerman’s exit, Erwich and the future head of the content partnerships group will both report directly to Freer.
As for Phillips, his job “will oversee a newly-unified Technology & Product organization spanning engineering, data center operations, network and broadcast operations center, information technology and program management, as well as product management, user experience and product development,” Hulu said in a release. “Hulu’s technology and product teams across Santa Monica, Seattle, Marin, and Beijing will report to Phillips when he steps into his new role, based in Santa Monica.”
And Kolhatkar “will 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’ll also be based in Santa Monica.
Additionally, chief marketing officer Kelly Campbell will now also oversee subscriber journey – “from acquisition, engagement and retention, to viewer experience and research, across all of Hulu’s on-demand and Live TV plans.” Her team will also oversee Hulu’s subscriber partnerships, including Spotify and Sprint. Ben Smith, senior vice president of experience, is retiring.
“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 endeavors,” said Freer.