VIEQUES, PR — Hulu plans to offer its new live TV service in the next couple of months, promising marketers the ability to reach consumers across on-demand and live viewing in one, seamless buying experience.
The company has been trailing the live launch for a few months. Features include the ability to “save anything to watch later, pause Live TV and pick up where you left off, and get real-time alerts for live events and TV moments that matter to you”, the company says, as well as viewer profiles and multiple at-home streams.
Hulu – a joint venture between ABC, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Turner Broadcasting System – has long been the broadcasters’ favoured aggregator for delivering shows on-demand. But few viewers watch either on-demand or live exclusively anymore.
The next imperative in TV is about experience, and bringing together both live and VOD. According to previews and demos, Hulu appears to have developed one of the most intuitive such interfaces yet. And the implications could be big – a unified way of delivering those main-line networks, both live and catch-up, in the IP-transmission era.
The service will purportedly offering 40-plus channels, and could end up being the networks’ play against digital skinny-bundle offerings launched by cable operators.
“Unlike what you have right now, where you’re searching through the programme guide to see what’s on or you’re checking your DVR or jumping from one interface to the other, we’re going to create a very personalised interface where you can combine live television with our VOD offerings and our growing library of Hulu originals to create a robust television experience,” says Jim Keller, Hulu’s sales VP, in this video interview with Beet.TV.
“We think it’s completely game-changing, it’s elegant, beautiful. From a marketer standpoint, to be able offer people VOD and live television in one consistent offering … we feel we have a game-changing experience.”
The new service will include content recommendations, so that viewers’ on-demand or live consumption informs suggestions for next viewing.
The live TV launch comes at a time when Hulu is improving its advertising offering to help better target ads for specific viewers. That’s something which viewer profiles could assist, but the company is also connecting with a variety of ad-tech tools to help, Keller says.
“We’ve always had a lot of data solutions – whether or not someone wanted to target around age, sex, gender, geographic region or device type,” he says.
“But, as the marketplace continues to move, we are in the process of working with an SSP (supply-side platform) to offer automated solutions and to allow advertisers the opportunity to combine their data with our data to bring more effective targeting.
“Right now, we are int he throes of different levels of integration with most of the key data providers out there, to be able to offer our marketers choice.”