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Back to Building Things . . .

Thanks, Mark, for the kind introduction.

It’s been 7 years since Hulu launched and since Netflix started streaming, and 9 years since YouTube launched. On the internet, time spans that long are practically an eternity, so a casual observer might easily conclude that IP-delivered video is in a pretty mature state. But they’d be dead wrong.

These are still the early days.

We’re convinced that, when we look back ten or fifteen years from now, it will be clear that a ton of innovation and new services were still ahead of us . . . that many of what will then be the top brands that viewers love and respect had yet to make their mark in 2014.

In many ways, today is a golden age for entertainment lovers. Better content on cable and broadcast than ever. New shows and movies being created or commissioned by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle and others. Unbelievable amounts of creativity being unleashed on YouTube. New formats for expression like Vine. From all those and many other sources, great content options are available for a viewer on practically any device with a screen.

But there are counterpoints to all that goodness. Despite all that wealth of content, as a viewer it can still be really hard to find something that you want to watch right now. It’s still too common to spend twenty minutes on a service looking for something good, sampling a few things, and coming away feeling like you’ve wasted your time.

And as a content creator, although there are a wealth of options out there for distribution compared to a few years ago, there are still plenty of challenges. First of all, there is the one unalterable truth: it’s really, really hard to make something that is truly good. It takes real creativity and inspiration, followed by the many challenges of executing in a way that delivers on that inspiration. That’s really hard, and no amount of technology can change that. For creators who succeed in that quest, their reward is to then face the complex distribution landscape that confronts them today. That landscape is full of options, but the wealth of options doesn’t change another tough truth: It’s still very hard to make real money. Not impossible. Much better than it was 5 years ago. But still too hard.

Both the opportunities and the challenges of that landscape are incredibly intriguing to us, because we’re convinced that a far better future for both viewers and content creators will emerge in the next few years. More creativity will be unleashed, better services will emerge that connect viewers with content they love, and more creators will be able to earn a great return on their creativity.

That’s going to take a lot of innovation. I’ve spent a good bit of time since leaving Hulu looking for the best way to help drive that innovation, and I’m really excited to have found the perfect place to do it: Showyou. I’m joining a fantastic team with great creative talent and the determined desire to help build things that make user experiences better and better, relentlessly (rinse and repeat).

These are definitely still the early days. Just as the late seventies and eighties saw the birth of so many great cable channel brands and distributor brands which occupied a big chunk of consumers’ mindsets for the following couple of decades, we’re now living through the early innings of the IP-era for entertainment. And a new set of services and “channel” brands will be born, on new platforms and with new capabilities. A lot of great things lie ahead for everyone who loves great content, and the Showyou team and I look forward to being in the thick of it.

-Andy

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Welcome Andy!

Two months ago, we wrote:

Television is changing.

Over the next 4-5 years, nearly 1 billion televisions will get connected to the Internet via game consoles, devices like the Roku, AppleTV and Chromecast, and smart TVs. And another billion screens – laptops, tablets, smartphones, all connected to broadband — are now being used as portable televisions.

We think there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new kind of media company and platform given those changes. Over the past three years, we’ve patiently laid the foundation for such a service, starting with our award-winning Showyou apps for the iPad and iPhone in 2011 and building out from there. With the launch of our Showyou Channel Platform in October, we now have a modern, end-to-end video service that can help viewers find programming they love, and help creators make money.

But we knew all along that to build a significant, enduring company that we needed help. So we set out on a quest to find someone with that rare combination of strategic vision, product savvy, operational excellence and deep knowledge of the entertainment industry; someone who could help us to build on the foundation we’ve laid and make Showyou an even more compelling service for both viewers and creators; someone who could help us to take a small startup and turn it into a great and enduring business.

With those requirements, we set the bar extremely high. We even wondered if there was anyone who could do all of these things, let alone do them all well. Luckily for us, we met and have gotten to know one person who exceeded our high expectations: Andy Forssell. We persuaded Andy to join our cause, and are thrilled to announce that he has joined Showyou as CEO.

Andy was one of a few key executives who guided Hulu throughout its meteoric rise. He started as SVP of Content and Distribution when it had just a handful of employees and spent more than 6 years building and growing the Hulu free service as well as the Hulu Plus subscription service. Andy served as acting CEO for most of 2013, a year in which Hulu generated more than a billion dollars in revenue with a team of more than 700 people. He is one of the most talented and creative executives we’ve ever met and knows as much about the television and online video space as anyone we know.

Welcome Andy – all of us on the Showyou team are honored to have a chance to work with you! And now over to you Andy

-Mark

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