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Rose Adkins Hulse: “Don’t run before you can walk”

ScreenHits TV is positioned to transform the future of television. The streaming wars are heating up and the television landscape is experiencing one of the most disruptive periods in its history. As we all sit back and watch with excitement the launch of new streaming platforms, such as Peacock, Disney +, Starz Play and HBO […]

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ScreenHits TV is positioned to transform the future of television. The streaming wars are heating up and the television landscape is experiencing one of the most disruptive periods in its history. As we all sit back and watch with excitement the launch of new streaming platforms, such as Peacock, Disney +, Starz Play and HBO Max — to an already buzzing marketplace filled with online content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple +, not to mention niche platforms like Acorn TV, Kidoodle or Shudder — we find ourselves spoiled with choice and wondering if the abundance of content will exceed consumer demand or be just enough to get us to cut the cord.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rose Adkins Hulse.

Rose Adkins Hulse is the founder and CEO of ScreenHits. Having worked for such noted organizations as The Hollywood Reporter, NBC Universal, The Sundance Institute and her brand, The Adkins Group, Rose has taken her experiences in sales, marketing and production and crafted ScreenHits to focus on programming distribution for worldwide content creators, as well as unique and highly curated platforms for consumer content consumption and aggregation.

ScreenHits allows producers, global broadcasters and distributors to not only engage in sales of programming during markets (MIP-Com, MIPTV, Cannes, AFM, Banff) but provides research and curation for major broadcasters seeking to fill programming gaps. She and her team have also created an interface for consumers (ScreenHits TV) to build their own curated, on-demand streaming service incorporating all of their favourite streaming platforms.

Rose has spoken at various enclaves including MIP and Digital Hollywood. She is married to George Hulse and they live in London with their two daughters and a dog.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I grew up in Santa Monica with successful parents who owned and operated their own businesses. I saw from an early age what went into setting up your own company and growing it into a successful enterprise. It was this that made me realise I did not want to open up a business and that I should be an actress instead.

Well, that didn’t work out the way I had intended it to and so off to University I went. After graduating with a degree in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge, I got a job at Weider Publications, followed by analyst jobs at Merryl Lynch, Miller Publishing and PROMAX & BDA. It was at these companies that I really came into my own. They were all “sink or swim” situations and I had to use my own resources and knowledge to navigate through my job description. I remember being 21 and having the role of a business analyst and on my first day I was placed into an office with boxes of data and I had no idea what I was supposed to do with them … but I somehow figured it out, used my resources and found a way. Before I knew it, I was promoted to managing people that had been in the business for over ten years.

Being such a young manager, I started to dream big and thought maybe one day I could be the head of a film studio, like Paramount. I wasn’t sure how I would get there, but I just knew I wanted to get there.

Sadly, I was never groomed for those opportunities and the harder I tried and more successful I became, the more I alienated my co-workers and found it increasingly hard to advance into more senior positions.

This led me to leave the media industry in 2005 after a stint at The Hollywood Reporter, The Sundance Institute and Universal Pictures (NBC Universal). I decided to go to Buenos Aires to study for the GMAT, as I knew I would need a master’s degree to have a chance at doing anything in senior management in corporate America.

But I got distracted, seriously distracted and decided not to come back to the US. I was thinking of ways to build a new life in the Tango capital of the world, but as life would have it, the media industry found me hiding out on the polo fields of Buenos Aires. I ended up working for a production company in a small town outside of Buenos Aires and heading up their international sales and co-productions. This role led me to meet Ralph Farquhar, a leading Hollywood producer that said my talents were being wasted and to come back to Hollywood and work for him.

I worked for Ralph Farquhar for years and he inspired me to think outside the box and start my own company. I was ready at the time, but a few years later, I moved to New York and after working for a few small startup companies, I started my own business and decided to do it in London of all places. Why? I wanted to eliminate my plan B and focus 100% on making ScreenHits TV a reality.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

ScreenHits TV is positioned to transform the future of television. The streaming wars are heating up and the television landscape is experiencing one of the most disruptive periods in its history. As we all sit back and watch with excitement the launch of new streaming platforms, such as Peacock, Disney +, Starz Play and HBO Max — to an already buzzing marketplace filled with online content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple +, not to mention niche platforms like Acorn TV, Kidoodle or Shudder — we find ourselves spoiled with choice and wondering if the abundance of content will exceed consumer demand or be just enough to get us to cut the cord.

Viewers are starting to consume their content off cable and online and the media industry has responded by creating their own streaming platforms and going direct to consumers, thus resulting in the streaming wars.

Content discovery, endless scrolling, switching between apps, subscription fatigue, and customer retention are just some of the challenges that are presented to everyone while navigating the streaming jungle.

ScreenHits TV has found an easy and cost-effective way for consumers to find, stream and binge their favorite shows, as well as discover new ones — all in one place.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I didn’t find this funny at the time, but now when I look back I really wonder what in the world I was thinking for me to blank the most important thing about this wonderful journey I have been on now for 8 years.

When I decided to leave my job in New York and start working full time for ScreenHits, I had to make a key decision. Do I go back to LA (my hometown and the birthplace of media) and set up ScreenHits TV where all my contacts are or do I go somewhere completely foreign to me where I can’t fall back on my contacts or look for a job if things don’t go to plan. For whatever reason, I chose to go somewhere completely foreign and chose London. So, I packed up, shipped over my American car, rented an apartment unseen, signed a lease to an office off of Liverpool Street, opened up an international bank account, gave up my fabulous Park Avenue apartment and organised a going away party for myself. Then ten days before I was about to leave, I met a friend to get some advice on London. After listening to my grand plan for a whole 15 minutes and looking dumbfounded, she said “do you have the right to live and work in the UK?” I replied, “Hmmm, I didn’t even think of that. No.” She turned and ordered another coffee and tried to change the subject…. But for about 30 seconds my heart dropped and I realised, how could I have completely uprooted my whole life and miss out on the most important piece of this journey. Now, it all worked out in the end, but for those 10 days, I had to scramble and use every bit of resource available to me to make this happen. Lesson learned: Don’t run before you can walk. Check every box. Review your plan over and over again and make sure you are not missing anything. One mistake, no matter how innocent, can destroy your dreams before you even have a chance at realising them.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I learned extensively from Lynne Segall, former Associate Publisher of The Hollywood Reporter. She was fired three times at The Hollywood Reporter and they brought her back each time because they knew she was indispensable. She dedicated her whole life to The Hollywood Reporter. She was ruthless. Strong. Powerful and knew how to build something great. People were afraid of her, but I admired her and I watched her and applied her strength to the running of my business today. Throughout my journey of starting a business she supported me, advised me on how to keep my company alive long enough for it to have a chance and I even had the support of The Hollywood Reporter who has helped to shape my career and bring awareness to the work I have been doing throughout the years. I am very thankful for my time at The Hollywood Reporter and I am very grateful to Lynne for teaching me how to take responsibility for my actions and to fight for my position in the industry and the right to be heard.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Change is never easy. No one likes the unknown or to disrupt things that have been previously proven to work; however, change is inevitable, and industries are constantly changing and adapting to their environments. Adjusting to big changes can be challenging and for many, seemingly impossible. The Industrial Revolution that took place between 1820 and 1840 saw a shift in hand production methods to machines. Those that embraced that change generated an abundance of wealth while those who did not…well we all know what happened. Just goes to show, those that adjust to change will be at the forefront of success and those who do not embrace change are often left behind. Everyone always worries that change will eliminate jobs, but on the contrary, it creates jobs and allows people to advance their skills and grow in their professions. Staying stationary can be safe but staying safe does not move the world forward.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

  1. “Don’t wait another year to start your own business, you will want that year back. Go for it now. If you fail, you can always get another job,” — John Morayniss, former CEO of Eone. This is the sentence that made me buy that ticket and start my business when I didn’t feel I was ready. And that year, John was 100% right. It has made all the difference. I will be forever grateful.
  2. “It is your duty in life to save your dream” — Amadeo Modigliani — He is my favourite artist and I cherish the words he once said. No one can carry and deliver your dreams for you. Only you can do that. And whenever I find the whole affair too much to bear, I think to myself, if I don’t fight for my dreams, who else will. Never let your dreams die.
  3. “Each time that you have doubts about your future, think of where you have been, remember what you have faced, all the battles that you have won and all the fears you have overcome.” — This quote was shared with me via a good friend and it helped me during some of my darkest days as an entrepreneur. It has not been an easy journey, but during these moments, we must remember how far we have come and what we have achieved.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I still have a while to go before I get the chance to ring the NASDAQ opening bell in celebration of ScreenHits’ IPO, but once that day comes, I would then like to take a break and spend time with my family and then start to re-invest in those who have found similar struggles on their journey in fulfilling their dreams. It is very hard to do it all by yourself and if I can help in any way, whether through mentorship, funding or support, I will do it. I would like to help other people save their dreams and hopefully continue to change the world by helping and supporting the next generation of innovators.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

My parents told me as a child not to worry about other people. Focus on yourself. Everyone has their own set of problems, and you have yours. I know that men are still the leaders in this world based on the leadership positions they hold and the income they generate. They were born at a time with a “good” deck of cards. But life consists not in holding “good” cards but in playing those you hold well. And I think us women are playing them quite well. Thanks to Madam CJ Walker, Angela Merkel, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Arianna Huffington, Beyonce, Sheryl Sandberg, Anna Wintour, Margaret Thatcher, Harriet Tubman, Condoleezza Rice and all the other women who are paving the way for others to follow. We are eliminating those challenges one exit at a time, and I have no doubt my daughters will continue to pave that path forward. So yes, there may be challenges, but nothing that can’t be overcome.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

There is not one book in particular. I would say that it is history in itself that has had a deep impact on my thinking. As a young girl growing up in America and learning about slavery and the civil war, these acts in history repositioned my way of thinking from a very early age. I remember asking myself, how is it possible for someone to be stolen from their homeland and family. Chained to a boat. Taken to a foreign land. To see death all around. A language removed. A culture lost. To cry for a family that you know you will never see again. The fear of not knowing what was going to happen to you or your offspring. The complete disregard of your human life. I think of all these horrors that happened. And to see the descendants of these same people rise above all of it to rebuild a life for themselves. It shows me an incredible strength. An incredible force of nature. And instills in me that nothing is too great to overcome.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path.” This is a very important quote for me. We all will face storms in our lives; that is a known truth. While we are going through these storms, it can be unbearable and impossible to see a way through. What is important to remember is that that storm is there for a reason. It is there to wash away and/or destroy all the things that stand in your path. I had to lose everything in order to gain everything. If one can just hold on during a storm, once it passes, they will clearly see the road ahead.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

We must learn to create opportunities for all people. Society has used certain things such as college degrees or pedigree to prevent certain people from rising “above their station” or entering certain professions. I wholeheartedly disagree in these roadblocks. Imagine all the talent and innovation that has been lost. I feel all major companies should create entry level programs that let employees train on site and work their way up into management positions. Not everyone can afford college and not everyone is book smart, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a top executive on your hands if you allow them to be educated in their craft/profession. Loyalty is everything and it is being lost with these new generations. If companies can re-instill trust and loyalty in their workers and give everyone, no matter their position, a chance to grow and excel, we will advance as a human race faster than we could ever imagined.

Lastly, if I could inspire any movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be to stop stereotyping. People are people. We all have different gifts. And at the end of the day, we all crave the same thing. Let’s give each other a chance. It is sometimes your exact opposite that will change your life for the better in work, love and life.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can visit www.screenhitstv.com or follow @screenhitstv on Instagram.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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