Neil Hunt is likely the most important Netflix executive that nobody's ever heard of. While everyone in tech media knows CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, Hunt's kept a low profile despite the pivotal position he holds as the company's chief product officer. Hunt looks after the video service's technology, including the streaming platform, as well as the tech behind the new feature announced yesterday, which will enable subscribers to share what they watch with their Facebook friends.
Hunt also oversees the unprecedented amount of user data that Netflix sits on. The data helps his team create the algorithms that support Netflix's recommendation features. At a time when the cost of licensing content is spiking, Hunt said in an exclusive interview withThe Verge that these recommendations help Netflix and its subscribers get the most out of Netflix's video library by suggesting titles that customers are more likely to enjoy. Hunt also talked about those nasty holiday site outages, why Hollywood and Web movie distributors need better supply-chain technology, and why he thinks the film industry places too much emphasis on pixel counts when the sweet spot for improving viewing quality is higher frame rates.