Deeper Dive—Hulu CTO details plans to grow tech team

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Hulu made a series of new hires to its technology team this week. (Hulu)

Hulu made a series of hires for its technology team this week and plans to continue growing the division as its video-on-demand and live TV subscription services get bigger.

Joe Bentley, who previously worked at GoPro as vice president of software engineering, is joining Hulu as senior vice president of engineering. Jim Denney, who previously worked at TiVo as vice president of product management and strategy, is joining Hulu as vice president of product management. Additionally, Billie Sue Chafins was promoted to vice president of software development and head of Hulu’s Seattle office.

Chafins will report to Bentley, and Bentley and Denney will report directly to Dan Phillips, chief technology officer at Hulu. Phillips, who joined Hulu in June after serving as chief operating officer at TiVo, provided FierceVideo with some answers about how these new hires will push Hulu’s tech strategy forward and why the company is growing its technology team this year.

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Dan Phillips
Dan Phillips (Hulu)

FierceVideo: How do these new appointments strengthen Hulu’s technology organization and help the company advance its goals of building the best experience for viewers and continuing to accelerate innovation in the streaming video space?

Dan Phillips: Our new executives bring deep technical and product expertise to their roles at Hulu and will support the organization’s goals to deliver a highly available, reliable experience for viewers and accelerate innovation to improve video streaming technology, recommendations, and our viewer experience.

FierceVideo: What role will these new executives play in scaling Hulu’s technology organization?

Phillips: Hulu’s had a phenomenal year so far. We currently have over 20 million subscribers, with a million of those on our live service. As our viewership grows, our systems need to scale to support more viewers. Additionally, we’re constantly working to innovate and build new features for our viewers to deliver a fantastic experience to them. To achieve these goals, we need to continue building out our team; our new and promoted executives will help us expand our organization and scale our systems moving forward.

Joe Bentley will be tasked with managing Hulu’s long-term technical strategy, scaling Hulu’s systems, and driving innovation amongst our engineering team to ship and deliver new features for our viewers.

Jim Denney is responsible for product strategy, including delivering the best-in-class product experience and making Hulu the number one destination for TV lovers.

Billie Sue Chafins is responsible for ensuring Hulu can be experienced across every device platform and optimizing the speed in which we can deliver features. She will also lead operations and drive recruiting for our Seattle office as the new lead there.

FierceVideo: Can you elaborate on Hulu’s plans to hire an additional 190+ technology jobs in 2018?

Phillips: To support Hulu’s rapid growth, increase development velocity, and ship more new features to our viewers, we’re hiring heavily across our engineering and product organization, from architecture and device platforms to QA and product. The goal is to expand our team while maintaining our culture, and we’re focused on hiring people that have the right expertise and can work collaboratively with our teams.

We’re investing heavily in talent and employee engagement across the board and have programs that support continued learning and development for all employees. Also, our team should reflect our audience. We know that diverse teams lead to more innovation and a better experience for our viewers, so we work hard to ensure our workforce is as diverse as our subscriber base.

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