The subscription video on demand (SVOD) market is as popular as ever and providers are working to innovate new ways to differentiate their services from their competitors. Hulu recently announced two new features that should make consumers very happy: live television and downloadable content.
Hulu began sending out invites for their live TV beta service in early 2017. According to FierceCable, the initial batch of beta invitees is limited to 100 in what is likely a very early version of the product before it goes mainstream. Hulu has even set up an invite page where users can go to request to be a part of the beta program.
Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins spoke earlier this month at an investor conference confirming that Hulu has a deal with CBS and that the service would be priced under $40 a month. The service will also include a cloud DVR at launch and a subscription to Hulu’s basic service.
According to Mashable, the Hulu live TV service will be centered around personalization and time-shifting. Users will be shown what Hulu is calling a Line Up after answering a series of questions about their viewing habits and preferences. The Line Up landing page will show a mix of live and on-demand content tailored to your interests. The more you use the service, the more accurate your recommendations will be. You can even let Hulu know who your favorite sports teams are and they’ll send you a notification whenever a game is on.
The cloud DVR is a fantastic feature, and one that was notably missing from DirecTV Now’s launch, however it does come with a few caveats. For example, Hulu is going to be able to stream a lot of live content that they won’t be able to offer on-demand. This means that if you tell your DVR to record a show before it broadcasts, you’ll be able to watch it later. But you will not be able to watch that same show if you did not tell the DVR to record it before the original broadcast time. Hulu has one of the more frustrating licensing deals for SVOD services, and plans to address this by adding notifications of expiration dates for users favorite shows.
This new live TV feature is really exciting for Hulu, not just because users will have access to live programming, but because Hulu is redesigning their entire UI to go along with it. The new user experience will better reflect Hulu’s new approach to their services: personalization. Just how successful those efforts will be remains to be seen, but this is certainly an exciting first step.