What was the last show you watched? Why did you choose it? And how would you describe it? As Director of Product at Peacock TV, Kate Radway wants to know. This week Kate joins Chris and Gina to discuss what it’s like shipping product for a major streaming platform. She breaks down some of the biggest pain points she sees — like when the platform brings you back to the credits of an episode you’ve already watched — and why solving them isn’t always as easy as it seems.
Gina Trapani We start every recording appreciating Riverside’s countdown—
Chris LoSacco It’s true. Every time we hit record, we’re like, oh, this is good—
GT It’s so good. We like good software. Yeah.
[Intro music fades in, ramps up, plays 10 seconds.]
GT Hey Chris.
CL Hey Gina.
GT How’s it going?
CL It’s going great. How are you?
GT Good, good, good. Hanging out in the old podcast studio here at 101 5th avenue here in New York City.
CL We have the big podcast mics in front of our mouths.
GT The giant podcast mics that are hopefully recording right now. Fingers crossed. I’m excited about our episode today. We have a special guest joining us.
CL A very special guest. This is a world-class product manager who I got introduced to a few years ago and have been very impressed with and stayed in touch with. And she has a very interesting career in streaming services that we can talk about. So let us introduce Kate Radway to the podcast. Welcome Kate.
Kate Radway Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here. Thank you guys for having me.
CL Yeah, of course. So we have a ton to cover, but before we do I would love it if you could just give kind of a brief overview of your career and what you’ve been doing and where you are now so that we can figure out where to dive in.
KR Yeah, absolutely. I never know really where to start with these sort of career questions, right? You can go back pretty far. I think relevancy wise I’ll start with: I’ve always been a person who was really interested in media, journalism. And so after getting a master’s I wanted to kind of go into sports journalism and then ended up at ESPN doing TV production. A little different than what I was expecting since I went and got a master’s in magazine writing and then went to a format where you’re making things that are 30 seconds long. But it was a pretty fascinating place to work. At ESPN I produced highlights on SportsCenter, got familiar with basically social media and new technologies that were coming in. And actually the reason I even got into product is because at ESPN we were starting to do live social voting.
So it was 2009, 2010. Twitter is sort of becoming a thing and people are trying to figure out how to get the voice of the watcher into the TV broadcasts. And so there were a couple different companies that were coming up at the time. Mass Relevance was one and I started using their tools to allow people to do live social voting on TV, to say whether or not they agreed with the hosts on television. Pretty interesting, but it opened up the world of social data to me. And so what we started to see is that there was actually this community that you could hear in real time through tweets. Well, you don’t hear tweets, but you can read them. [Chris laughs] And you could get a sense of what people were responding to well, what people didn’t like, what they wanted the hosts to talk about.
And so to me that was enlightening. It was data, right? And I don’t think I’d ever really thought about getting actual data you could use for TV production. Like that just hadn’t been a thought in my mind. And so I became amazed at the pulse of the watcher. And so long story short, I pitched myself to the company that was Mass Relevance—it became Spredfast—and said that I would love to get into this TV social data world. I thought I could help people understand companies, understand the value of having this real social pulse in real time on TV. They agreed that they thought I could make an impact. And so they hired me and that got me into the world of software, which I had never in my life thought about getting into. And from there, it just sort of became an obsession of me being a user of the product on the TV side and just kind of constantly sending the PMs notes—the thing I’m sure PMs and myself hate today, right? Is the people just like: I had one more idea for you, like, have you ever thought about this? [Chris and Gina laugh.] And the answer is always yes, but we can’t do it for X, Y Z resources, priorities, whatever it is. I was one of those people annoying the PMs at this new job. And over time I just got more familiar with the process and eventually got recruited in to take over the product I had used at ESPN, which was pretty cool. So that’s the short story of how I got into product.
CL When you joined Spredfast, was your title product manager or was it something else?
KR I had many different titles. I came in as a market director, which was sort of a salesy role of trying to—I was in LA at the time—going into Fox studios, Sony, having meetings to say, this is how you can use social data to inform your TV broadcasts, sort of ensure your show development. So I did that for a while, which was pretty compelling. Then I had a title called creative architect, which was about trying to, it was essentially someone trying to think about how to create a moment around social TV and how could we use these visual displays of like, you know, you watched the Superbowl and they put the tweet on the screen from JLo about whatever play is out there. It was sort of that type of role, which is how do we take what’s happening on social and make more of a real world experience with it. That was sort of a short-lived career at that company. And then I moved into product management.
CL It’s so fascinating to me how people end up thinking in a product-centric way, but they come from these, you know, experience-design type roles that are not PM by name, but share so many aspects of what a good product manager is going to be thinking about. You were doing, you know, if you want to think of it this way, maybe it’s a stretch, but like user experience design, when you were thinking about what is the watcher seeing on the TV and what is the person who’s controlling the content management system, how are they figuring out what’s going to ultimately end up on those screens? You were doing product even before you were called a product manager. It’s interesting. It’s like a lot of PMs that we talk to have this kind of, you know, I was sort of doing product before I ever knew that was a title. So it’s just interesting.
KR I think for me, it comes down to sort of problem solving or wanting to solve a problem, seeing something that could be solved and then letting your brain think about, well, what would need to be true for that to be fixed?
CL Exactly. So that’s always kind of been my default. I think it can be annoying at times for people who let’s say just one event and all you want to do is solve their problems. So it doesn’t always serve me.
CL [Laughs.] So you made a left turn and you wound up in streaming services. Tell us about that journey.
KR Yeah. So, I had gotten out of media to go work at the startup that was doing the social analytics, social data. And over time I got less connected to the media companies that I was trying to pitch for and more involved in marketing. Because it was a lot of companies like Whole Foods or Sketchers or big brands that were using social to understand what people were saying. I wasn’t so interested in social for the use of brand products as much as I was interested in social and the use of media. And so I did sort of get to a point where I just really missed TV, content creation, content consumption, everything that kind of comes with the media world and wanted to get back into that. And so over time, that sort of led me to really—and I really enjoyed working ESPN at the time that I worked there, it was part of the Disney corporation. I really enjoyed my time at Disney at ESPN. And so I was trying to get back into Disney and streaming and found a fit with Disney+ as they were sort of—it was about a year after they launched is when I made the move over to Disney+ in a senior product manager role.
CL Tell us what it is like to ship software in an environment like Disney, because I have to imagine it is an entirely different world unto itself when compared to most people who are pushing products out into the world.
KR It’s very, very different. I think, depending on where you are, right? Everyone says product is a discipline that it’s very different from company to company. And I’ve had the experience of working at a 500-person company, sort of an 80-person company in product specifically, and then at Disney, which was a very large product organization with a lot of different teams. And it was tough. I mean, it is a matrix organization with a lot of teams and I think one of the challenges that they have had and are trying to figure out, and I think all streamers sort of have is there’s the mix between the front end UI, the experience of the streaming service, there’s the backend pieces, the backend technologies that go into that, there’s personalization, there’s a content management system.
There’s all these different things that have to come together to really sing for your product. And all of those are distinct work streams with their own backlogs. And then you layer on top the devices, like the TV devices, the mobile devices, the web, and there’s just this massive intersection of places for things to get lost and slowed down. It was a struggle on a day-to-day to really figure out how was the best way to move your piece forward because that’s not even taking into account the business priorities. Right? And like, what does the business actually want to accomplish versus what does the PM see as opportunities at a more, you know, ground level?
CL Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. It sounds challenging because there’s so many variables, you know, to line everything up. Were there techniques that you found worked? You know, were there ways that you could sort of carve out a piece of it or a smaller set of functionality that you feel like, okay, this is a manageable chunk that I can bite off and figure out how to ultimately get to production and put it in front of people?
KR Yeah. I mean, I listen to a lot of product podcasts. I read a lot. I think the thing that rings the most true in my experience is the bridge building and relationship building and socializing that you can do of the different areas that you are invested in. Right? So there were some problems. And in the space that I was in was really focused on this sort of idea of familiar content that you’ve engaged with on the platform. Right? So streaming is basically a mix of things that you have yet to discover or have discovered and things that you’re currently watching, have told us you want to watch, or given some sort of signal on. And I was really focused on the stuff that you had either started consuming, told us you wanted to consume or had previously watched. And those pain points around trying to make that experience much better is where I was really focused.
So one of them was around making the continue watching experience better. So, you know, you started watching a show, you leave it to go do whatever it is. For me that’s usually attending to my kids and coming back later and then picking up a show.
KR And it was, yeah. I mean, it’s a struggle for all of us, right? Most of us. And there was this one thing which was around, you know, basically sometimes we would show content that you thought you’d finished, but we didn’t recognize that you’d finished because you didn’t hit a certain marker. And so we would—
GT Ah, credits. Brings you back to the credits.
KR Exactly. And so this was a challenge, you know, there’s a lot of upstream. How do you mark content? When do you mark it? When is the actual finish time? When do we want to push you into that next piece of content? When should that come in? All of these different variables. And so it was around how do you, one, start to identify all the dependencies? Because there’s a ton of different dependencies in this world. How do you identify all the dependencies? All of the things you have to change to get that shipped. And then you have to go meet with all of those different people to understand their backlog, to have them see the value in what you’re doing, to present data on the size of the problem. And that was what I did. It was a lot of boots on the ground. A lot of just trying to go meet with the right people and get them to see the vision where we could go, what we could do. And then also understanding how it could fit into their larger roadmap. Because of course, you know, one of the challenges that I think of a product that’s really successful is that the things that are pebbles in a shoe don’t always get fixed. It’s a little bit of, you know, we’re still walking, it’s fine. Like I can put up with this pebble and over time it becomes really frustrating, but there’s not like a given point, it’s not the thing that the business is really focused on getting done and finished and out of the way.
GT This is the hard invisible work that we don’t talk about a whole lot. But the truth is it feels very obvious to a user like, oh, Hey, we need to fix this hole. Don’t bring me back to the end—the very end of this piece of content I’ve finished watching this show. But the getting the data, doing the presentations, marching around the org, selling it up, you know, fitting it into the business strategy, making the case that a great user experience is critical to the, like, this is the hard work [laughs] and that’s why, you know, I think, I think a lot of viewers and users are like: why can’t you just? There’s a lot packed in that just. It’s true.
KR There’s also this piece within product that I don’t think I appreciated until now, which is you as a product manager also have to think about where can you provide the most value and is the business at a point to align with where you think you provide the most value? So Disney, right, again, such a successful product. So many millions of viewers around the world for Disney, right? They’re very focused on expanding and going into other markets and international stuff. And that’s the right decision for the company. But as a product manager who’s working on the core experience and the user experience, that means that you’re not necessarily going to get the resources to really build the smaller, I don’t want to say innovative because, you know, that’s sort of assuming that expanding into new markets doesn’t require any innovation, which isn’t true, but you don’t get to tweak the user experience in new and different ways as much because they, the business, are focused on those international launches.
And so part of the reason that I am no longer at Disney+ and I am at Peacock is that Peacock is at the point in their journey of a business where it makes a lot of sense to really focus on how do we build that best experience for the consumer? How do we make sure it’s a delightful, interesting experience that gets you into and helps you discover content? Because they, you know, aren’t the same. They don’t have the same exact IP that Disney has, that is so known and really doesn’t require the same sort of discovery mechanisms that you might need.
CL That was so good. I feel like there are 15 things that I want to parcel out and put on posters and have them around the Postlight office so that people internalize them. I want to go back to two things that you said. The first one, so aligning what you do as a product person or a product manager with where the business needs are. That is so key.
GT So key.
CL PMs should have that tattooed on their forearm so that when they look down, they’re like, oh yeah, I gotta make sure that we are aligned with the business. [Gina laughs.] And you’re absolutely right that sometimes you can make like counterintuitive choices because you’re like, well, as a person who’s obsessed with the customer experience, I want to do X or Y, but that’s not really where the business is focused right now. And how can I redirect, or at least maybe bridge the gap between the pebbles and the shoe of the product and where the overall business is investing and looking for future growth. It is hard, but the best product managers will sort of naturally think that way and try to build those bridges and try to orient the things that they are suggesting or driving their teams towards with some kind of business outcome.
In fact, that’s one of the things we talk about when we talk to our clients: how are we orienting around business outcomes for our clients? So it’s such a good insight. The other thing I want to touch on before we move past it is the importance of content strategy, which is what you were talking about before when you were talking about those markers in videos that very much inform the user experience. Like, what am I going to see? How do I indicate whether or not I finished a show? It relates back to this very, you know, it’s like blue collar content strategy work where someone has to go in and say, I’m going to go through video by video if necessary and make sure that the metadata around this content is correct. And I think it’s very common for people not to understand: what is content strategy or how does it, what do I really get by investing in my content? I don’t really understand. Why would I want to do this work? But this is actually a prime example because if you have good underlying taxonomies and data, metadata, they drive better experiences on the front end. And it’s not something that is universally understood, but it has a very real impact on what product teams are able to do and what businesses are able to bring to market. So it’s such a great story. And I know, you know, I can hear the subtext of frustration that you had to sort of talk to all these different groups to line it up, but that’s the work. And then it’s real that, you know, if the content’s not right, the experience is not going to be right either.
KR It’s interesting too because you know, if you look back at the history of when we didn’t have streaming services, right? There wasn’t a need to necessarily know that the first frame of your credits start at X point and the last frame of your credits start at this point, but as consumption patterns and devices, and the way that we interact with content changes, those things become really valuable to key off of and the metadata piece for personalization, right? Understanding what’s in the content, what are the themes? What are the underlying storylines? All of that obviously informs how you personalize the ways that you understand the value of a piece of content to someone. You know, this gets a little bit into, I often think a lot now in the work that I’m doing at Peacock, which is more focused on content discovery, the overall content discovery experience within Peacock, which is: what are the ways that people discover and try new content? What are the hooks that get people in? So I’ll ask both of you if you can remember: what is the last new show and I’ll say show, but it could be a movie show or movie you’ve watched? And why did you make the decision to watch it? What got you to watch that piece of content?
GT Often for me it’s recommendations from friends.
CL I was going to say the same thing.
GT You hear people—we have a channel in our Slack at Postlight where people say this is really good and I’ll see other people kind of chime in.
KR When they say it’s really good, is there anything else that comes with that? Is it just this is really good and you should watch it? Do they compare it to other things? Do they give you a storyline about it that they think you might like?
GT I mean, we’re at a particular moment right now where it’s like June 2022, it’s been two years of pandemic, which means that I have watched a lot of streaming stuff. I’ve watched a lot of stuff. I’ve watched a lot of shows and a lot of movies. So the recommendation that gets through to me is the one where someone’s like, and recently my brother’s like, you gotta watch this show. It’s really good. It just like absolutely blew my mind. Like I have to, I have to feel that this is really exceptional and going to make me feel something because I haven’t felt something in about two years.
CL Oh my God.
GT [Laughs.] That got really dark, a little dark. Yeah, sorry. I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean to get so dark. But I can tell that it’s something that’s like, you know, really extraordinary because in all the streaming watching I’ve done, I’ve also watched a lot of mediocre stuff, to be honest.
CL True. What was the show?
CL Oh my God. You also, I mean.
GT So good.
KR Oh I haven’t watched it.
GT There’s also the like recommendations from my brother and from my business partner and from my employees, you know.
CL It’s very good. [Gina laughs.]
GT That’s the first one that came to mind for me.
KR What I think is fascinating about that is that by far, when you do like qualitative user studies, you ask people about what is the way that they find content, it is always the recommendation from other friends or family. But what I find so interesting is the way that people describe why you might watch something and how can product, how can Peacock, Disney+, Netflix—I mean, Netflix does this I think to a better degree in sort of how they use language. But what are the comparables? In real estate, you go look at a house or you put your house on the market and people give you comparables. What are other people doing? If I’m recommending a movie to someone, I might compare it to something else that I’ve watched or that they’ve watched and giving people those hooks in the experience and using language in that way, which is what is the emotion you’re going to feel? What is this good for? I think that’s a place we can really start to lean in. But again, it does all come down to metadata, whether it’s metadata about the piece of content that’s coming from the studio or an understanding of what previous people got out of it. And so that’s something that I’m really interested in figuring out ways how to get that into the experience, because I think it is the natural way we talk about movies, but it is hard to get into an app. It is hard to source that data and have it make sense for someone in that moment.
CL Do you feel like there are new ways that we are going to start to experience these kinds of services going forward because of how the landscape has changed? Like we are all used to streaming services now. We use them in a lot of different ways. We were talking the other day and I remember you mentioning like, are there analogies to like how people shop in the grocery store and discover new things and does that somehow sort of light up the experience? Like I’m curious as to what you think is going to happen in the future as we sort of explore digital ways to represent some of these things that we’re talking about.
KR I was just listening to a podcast this morning about choice architecture and sort of how it was mostly about nudges and how to use nudges to get people to make the right decision for them. But even the physical stores and how people shop, anytime you go to a store, they are nudging you to do something. They are giving you some sort of mechanism to make your choice easier. So examples that I often use, if you go into a wine store, right, they have the little cards on the wine to tell you what is the spectator score or here’s the staff favorite picks. Or if you go into a bookstore, they have Oprah’s book club or Reese’s book club to help whittle that choice down. So you’re not overwhelmed. You don’t have analysis paralysis. You’re not trying to choose from all of these things. And then you can’t make a decision because I do think in streaming, very, you know, widely accepted is sort of like this doomscroll where there are so many choices, you just cannot figure out what is the thing you should watch. And we’re all trying to solve that. I don’t think any streaming service has solved that. And so I do look to physical in-store experiences to figure out how are they making it easy to say, yes? What is it that they’re doing that gets you to choose something? I think the comparables, right, you’re going to watch Severance because it has the actor from Parks and Rec or you’ve watched previous things that he has been in or something like that.
The other ones that I think are really compelling are if you think about Ikea or just even grocery stores, they very specifically make you walk through the store to get exposed to more things. So if you’re in a grocery store, they put milk and they put eggs at the very far end of the store, you have to walk by everything to get them. They are staples. They are things that everyone needs to basically purchase and it’s purposeful, right? They put things on the end that you need so that you weave your way through. You see all these great things and as an impulse you throw them into your cart. Or Ikea is even more, very strong handed in their approach. Like they don’t let you go another way. They just put you on one path and you go through the whole store and you look at everything and whether or not you’re buying that couch that you saw now, it’s seeded in your mind, maybe for a future journey. That’s I think a struggle for streaming services because you know, we are sort of letting you into the storefront, but how do we get you to all the other stuff, right? There’s only so much we can show on one screen or two screens. How do we get you into those aisles and down those aisles to find other content? And so it is probably the premier struggle of streaming services today because there is an overwhelming amount of content, right? Like Gina, even though you’ve watched a ton of content, you haven’t watched all of the content, like there’s a lot of content still there [Gina laughs.]
GT There is. I mean, you’re flipping through a grid of like definitely compelling and interesting show art and movie art. But after a while it’s a grid of pictures. I watched my nine year old daughter page through her favorite streaming services, through all the big ones, Disney+ and Netflix, et cetera. And like the truth is though the discovery algorithms have gotten really good. I mean, she’s just like, oh right. The thing with the puppies and is it cake, and then all the other cake shows and then, you know, there’s, you know, oh, another sparkly unicorn show. Okay, cool. It serves her. I think some is better than others. She has a different, I won’t say lower, but a different bar than I do. So it’s gotten better, but yeah, I see that it is a challenge because I will also catch her in just the doomscroll or just going through the grid, just like going, oh, it keeps going. Like, it just keeps going, you just keep going down and there’s more rows of pictures. [Laughs.] Kate, I’m really curious to know, so in your switch from television and that second screen experience and like sentiment on social and how people are engaging with shows to streaming—I don’t know—there’s some part of me that thinks that the big streaming services probably know more about the collective emotion of humanity than social media or television. Like I’m curious to know if the kind of information that you have about the engagement, the number of hours that people have spent watching certain things and that cross of metadata, what is this about and what are people most interested in? Do you feel like on the streaming side, you understand how people are engaging with content more, less, or differently than in your previous role when it was like television and coupled with social?
KR I would have to acknowledge that when I’m at ESPN, I’m in a much junior, younger time in my career. And so I don’t want to say that no one had that type of data, right? Because I think they spent a lot of money and resources to go and understand the consumers and what they like to watch and to focus groups and all of those things. I didn’t necessarily see those. But I do think there is more of an ongoing, consistent feedback loop now with streaming and having that data and being able to say, actually, how many people are watching this thing, how many people are coming back? What are the themes of it? Do we need to create a content pipeline to support that? Right? You’re talking about the unicorns and the cake shows. I think sometimes you can overindex on that, right? Which is like, we should only create unicorn shows from now on. But I do think that there is value in trying to understand what it is about those shows and those moments that’s resonating for people. And then feeding that back into your content creation pipeline and those sorts of things. There was not as much of attention paid in sports media, in the sort of late 2010 or in the 2010 range. You had a producer, you were creating a TV show that you thought sports fans wanted to watch, and whether or not sports fans really wanted to watch it didn’t necessarily come into play all that much. At least at the levels that I think that I was operating at that producing was happening. Certainly the business was concerned, but there wasn’t as much of a, what was the immediate reaction? What did people say? What are people responding to? And I think even now linear television has gotten there because of Twitter, because of all of these forums that allow people to react and then consume those. So it’s shifted over time. I think there is definitely a much closer attention to how people respond and then there’s a wealth of data to react to. And the challenge is reacting to it in the right way and strategically so that you’re not only creating one type of content, because at this point in time, you’re only seeing that one type of content perform well.
CL How much do you think about different form factors when you’re thinking about the end user experience? Like, are you focused on the TV and the app that’s running on my Samsung or on my Apple TV box? Or are you also thinking about, what is it like when someone’s watching it on their iPad or, you know, they’re on their phone while they’re watching TV and like, what is that experience like? Are you thinking about it? And I say you, but I mean, in general, do you feel like the approach here is as an ecosystem or is it like we’re focused on the TV and then everything else is ancillary?
KR I think it has to be about the ecosystem. I think there are devices that you have data for that show that they’re, you know, the one that maybe people are more often consuming from the TV device on their couches, certainly in the last three or four years because of the pandemic that has been the case, right? Most of the streaming consumption is happening on TV devices. But I think you have to understand the value that those other devices can bring because the behaviors are often very different. And so there’s an opportunity from a product perspective. You’re not building just one experience on TV and then copying it onto your web or your mobile device. Like there are aspects of those that you should be able to leverage to make the overall, you know, in my case, Peacock experience better. So what can you do on mobile that is different, or what do people do, right? You browse more, you look at what’s coming next and maybe you don’t watch it on your device, but you save it to your My Stuff or to your list. And so there’s leaning into those device specific behaviors that I think unlock a different experience that ultimately if you’re doing product right, benefits the whole. From a resourcing perspective, I think then you have the challenge of: do you devote your resources to the thing where most people are to the devices where less people are, but there is a different type of behavior that could benefit the other. That’s a challenge, but certainly they should not be carbon copies of each other at all.
CL Very well said. I feel like also the customer acquisition story on those several channels is different, right? If I am sitting down at my TV and I’m downloading the Apple TV Peacock app, I’ve already made a decision, right? That I want to watch Yellowstone, and I’m going to go get this on my big screen. On a phone or on the web, it may be very different. I may have gotten a link from somebody, or it may have been featured somewhere. And the way that people are coming in the front door is different and should be thought of differently. Like your onboarding experience might be different. Your user account activation might be different. So those are all very interesting considerations that I think about as a user. Like, what is it like when I go into a streaming service for the first time?
KR Yeah. I mean a great example of that is if you’ve tried to change your password on a TV device recently, that’s an awful experience.
CL Oh my God.
KR Because you have to type in every single letter. So streamers now do, you know, scan the QR code to put it on your device, or on your mobile phone. Because let’s be honest: none of us are sitting on a couch without our mobile phones next to us. So there are ways that they’ve said like this is awful for everyone. Let’s use this other device to make that TV experience of watching that much better.
CL I have to imagine that there’s a way to have a second screen experience that adds something. I mean, there are obvious examples, right? Like sports where you’ve got clear, extra stuff that you could show on a second screen, but even for like watching show—I mean, every show we watch, I feel like there’s a scene where somebody comes on screen and you’re like, wait, I think I know that person.
GT What were they in? [Laughs.]
CL Yeah. I don’t know if you both have used this, but on Amazon Prime, you know what I’m talking about when you pause it—I think it’s called x-ray the feature—and it shows like who’s in this scene and what music is playing. It’s such a good idea.
CL Yeah. It’s brilliant. And I feel like that is just the tip of the iceberg. Like I think this is going to be a component of how we consume media in the future because you’re totally right, Kate. Everyone’s sitting there with their phones anyway. So how this starts to be like a more holistic experience, it’s going to be interesting. Maybe we’re all going to be wearing AR glasses at some point in the future, but let’s not, let’s not get there. [Gina laughs.]
KR It’s fascinating because there’s often this idea of how hard is it to build a new habit versus, you know, there’s already a habit that exists, right? And so I think the habit that exists, at least if I’m thinking about it, is you’re going to IMDB or you’re going to Wikipedia and you’re looking up that person. And so in this way, Amazon has sort of, co-opted that experience of going and looking it up yourself to just putting it on the screen in front of you and therefore you’re not going and picking up your phone and therefore you’re not necessarily getting distracted and stopping watching. I mean, you’ve stopped it because you’ve paused it, but maybe there is a value to them that your eyeballs are still on the screen. You’re not looking at your phone now, but you know, I’ve often— I’m not someone who makes decisions about platforms to be acquired—but I’ve often thought that it would make a lot of sense for a streamer to have a platform or to own within a portfolio of a company, a platform where conversation or searches are happening about the thing that you are watching. So Twitter, right? Like if a media company, if Disney, who was rumored to have wanted to buy Twitter a while back, but didn’t for some obvious reasons. But I think that would be incredibly valuable right now because you would understand what people were doing and talking about in the space of media, in a way where you had access to data that you don’t otherwise have. Or even—I don’t know that you could own Wikipedia—but that sort of thing, which is there are these natural conversations and these natural offshoots that if they were actually to live inside of a streamer and to provide that data could really like finally complete a sort of engagement puzzle or a flywheel to understanding what is my content generating? What’s the action that comes next and how do I take advantage of it?
GT Before we wrap up, I want to ask you a question. Is there anything about streaming or building product and streaming or behind the scenes in the streaming industry that people don’t know, but that they should know or might be surprised to know?
KR I don’t think it’s necessarily something that’s unique to streaming as much as it’s something that’s just unique to product, which is that the obvious thing, the thing that you want, your app, your product to do that seems like a no brainer is never a no brainer. [Gina laughs.] And is always something that requires trade offs and priority realignment and all of these things. And so I think as the person who used to be the one sending ideas to PMs and not understanding what it meant as a consumer of anything, right? Like put yourself in the shoes, there’s always a, if I’m going to do this, if I’m going to go and improve this experience, what are the other things that are not getting done? And so I think as a PM, seeing all of the tweets or all of the Reddit threads about things we want to improve on these experiences, like, yes, we want to improve all of those things and we know about all of those things. We just have a very large backlog and it’s working through and deciding what’s the most important and trying to align that again to the business goals.
CL Well, thank you so much Kate. So what I’m taking away from this conversation is you would like everybody listening to download Peacock and then send their feedback directly to you.
KR Of course.
CL I’m assuming Twitter DM works well.
CL Okay, good. This was great. We really appreciate it. Thank you for taking us through everything sort of behind the scenes on streaming. And if you’re listening and you have a streaming service that you want help to build—I’m reaching here, Gina. If you want a product team to help with—reach out to Postlight. [Gina laughs.]
GT I don’t know and then we’ll call Kate.
CL And then we’ll call Kate.
KR How about if you need help with your content strategy and setting a different—
CL There we go.
KR Tag points in the media to make it best discoverable let’s call Postlight.
CL We can help with that. Reach out. Hello@postlight.com. If you’ve got feedback for us on this episode or anything, we’d love to talk to you. We get a kick out of hearing about all different kinds of problems and industries and the like, and we’d love to chat.
GT We would. Kate, where could people find out more about you and what you’re working on and find you?
KR So really the best place is probably on Twitter. I’m just @K_radway. That is probably my most active platform.
GT Excellent. Great. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. It was so great to have you.
CL It was a lot of fun.
KR Thank you guys.
CL All right. Talk to you soon.
GT Take care.
KR Bye guys.