These are the Lessons Hulu Learned Building Hulu Live TV

Ben Smith, Head of Experience at Hulu, spoke today at the Pay TV Show. He shared some of the things they learned while building Hulu Live TV.

When they started building the services they wanted to take into account changing in consumer behavior.

  1. Viewers have a on-demand and on-the-go lifestyle
  2. Consumers started bingeing on streaming services
  3. Consumer streaming devices became user friendly and convenient.

They wanted to build the entire experience around the viewer. They didn’t want to separate live and on demand — they wanted everything to just be TV.

Here are some of the lessons learned:

TV Users are in a Transition

On a TV, consumers will still scroll through a long list to find the shows they want to watch. Hulu didn’t feel like they did enough to help users in transition.

The recently released grid guide was meant to fit the need of these viewers.

Viewers are More Than Just an Algorithm

They felt that they needed to ask you your tastes in TV as part of onboarding. Ask genres, then ask shows, and then present your favorite shows in the interface first. Share your favorite sports teams and send an alert when the game is on.

A lot of what viewers watch is what is the zeitgeist. People habits change around live TV depending on what’s popular for the day.

Just because a recommendation is good for you, doesn’t mean you haven’t watched it yet.

Live TV Matters

Over half of the Hulu Live TV viewing is on-demand, but sports, live events, and news are still all about live. This is what drives subscriptions and retention.

During major events like Hurricane Irma, it’s important to surface news channels and locals for those in that area.

During sporting events like the Olympics, asking for your favorite sports. During games like the Rose Bowl, showing all the different broadcasts for the Super Fan. During March Madness, building custom show clips based on major events.