Ever since Hulu announced their live TV launch, one of the biggest questions has been how they would incorporate live broadcasts alongside their current on demand offerings. We got out first glimpse today at how that’s going to look, and it looks pretty seamless.
The redesigned Hulu looks pretty sleek now, taking more of a “specific show” approach rather than a “live TV guide one.” What that means is, Hulu knows what shows you want to watch, and those shows will be presented first, regardless of whether they’re live or on demand.
It’s still possible to navigate to a traditional “what’s on now” live guide or to the on demand catalog, but neither of those things are at the forefront. Despite the fact that Hulu is adding live TV, the interface is much less cluttered than before.
Hulu is also making an effort to make sure users don’t miss out on content they care about. To help in that, they’re adding notifications to their mobile app. At the beginning, the notifications are only based on live sports. Tell Hulu what teams you like, and and you’ll get a notification when their game starts. You can start watching right away or choose to save that game to the cloud DVR. Tell Hulu you’re a fan of a sport in general, and you’ll get “exciting moment” alerts like one for a no hitter in baseball or a close overtime in basketball.
Hulu’s Senior Vice President of Experience, Ben Smith, says he realizes there’s a lot of work to get this implementation right. But he feels they’re on the right path. “We have millions of subscribers and eight years of experience in on-demand content,” he said, “but we have zero years of experience and zero million live TV subscribers. We needed to build an experience that people will want to use right now and that will last for the next three to five years.”