With HBO Max poised to become the latest subscription TV streaming service in May 2020, many are starting to speculate how the offering will shape up amongst a growing competitive set.

That’s something Jeremy Toeman can help with. HBO parent WarnerMedia in November hired Toeman as chief product innovation officer in its Innovation Lab, which launched in January.

There, Toeman’s job will be about a lot more than just HBO Max. But he is already finding that defining the future of attractive VOD products is high on the agenda.

“We started where third parties, Netflix and Hulu, et cetera, came into the market (and) built great products that consumers love to use,” he says.

“Now we’re seeing the media industries with us, Peacock, Disney Plus and others all bringing their own products to market.

“What’s really going to be fun to watch over the next couple of years is, how do we all innovate? We’re trying to approach this like any tech startup would. We’re trying to do is use what’s called design thinking to get to the best possible product.

“That means stripping away all of our preconceived notions (whilst) keeping our kind of expertise around.”

Toeman explains that he is exploring finding the optimum user experience for content discovery and personalization.

“For example, how might we make scrolling through lists of content fun? Also, personalization – we have decades and decades of content to bring to consumers, so how are we going to help you find the right thing at the right time?

“It’s a huge challenge, not just browsing through lists, but how do we get to know you? How do we understand that, after watching all of Westworld, the thing you’re in the mood for now is an uplifting comedy (whilst) someone else might be in the mood for some dark broody drama?

“Those kinds of algorithms and really getting AI and machine learning into that process is going to be a huge part of the next steps.”

Toeman says OTT TV services are going to have to do a better job than internet display has done at presenting targeted ads and giving users control.

This video is part of the Beet.TV series title the Road to CES 2020, a preview of the topics expected to be explored in Las Vegas in January.  The series is presented by Samsung Ads.  For more videos please visit this page