Screen Surf Makes Searching for Something to Watch Easier

Three MEM students developed an app to make navigating digital streaming services more efficient for consumers.

The average consumer who has at least two digital streaming services spends 51 minutes per day trying to find something to watch, according to a study on TV and the media by Ericsson, a global telecommunications company. That statistic was jarring to Atindra Garigipati (MEM '21), Kevin Mertic (MEM '22), and Peter Stoffel (MEM '21), but it also represented an opportunity.  

From Disney+ to Discovery+ to Paramount+ to Peacock, the list of streaming digital content services can become too extensive to count. The three students from Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program wanted to find a way to make show selections easier for consumers, and they think they've found a solution.  

Screen Surf is a new mobile app Garigipati, Mertic, and Stoffel are developing that gives recommendations for TV shows and movies to minimize search time, consolidate streaming content, and provide the opportunity to share suggestions with family and friends.

The idea originated when the three took Product Management, taught by adjunct faculty member Birju Shah.

The app's interface includes a personalized homepage that shows movies and TV shows recommended for users. These recommendations are based on previously watched content. While existing streaming services provide recommendations for their own platform, Screen Surf is designed to recommend content across any platform the user subscribes to.. 

The app will also have pages for trending content, a friends page, and watchlists. The app will be available on the App Store and Google Play with an accompanying website. The team has future plans to expand to smart TVs as well. 

During the app's development process, the three relied on lessons they learned in MEM. The Product Management course ensured the students were first focusing on the problem the consumer faced before deciding on what solution best fits their needs. Organizing for Innovation taught the students how to perform "voice of the customer" interviews to help gather feedback from their target market. Marketing Issues for Engineers helped the three create a marketing plan that now includes social media marketing. 

"MEM is a great place for entrepreneurs because it gives you the skills and confidence required to take your ideas or dreams and turn them into a product that can help other people," Mertic said. "The combination of business and technical classes gives any aspiring entrepreneur the background they'll need to be successful."

To learn more about Screen Surf or to be a pilot test user, contact the team at

"We love hearing from potential customers about where their pain points are with finding great movies and TV shows," Mertic said. "This allows us to take that feedback and shape our product to make their search simpler."

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