Freer told a fringe event at the Cannes festival that discovery is one of the “top three” challenges facing the business, with users only likely to encounter “7% to 8%” of its content through organic searches.
With over 85,000 episodes of TV content on Hulu, users are faced with an impossible amount of choice – something it compounded by launching its live TV offering without the traditional programme guide.
“People couldn’t figure out what was going on, so we put it back in,” Freer acknowledged. (For more, read WARC’s report: How Hulu is rising to the content discovery challenge.)
As a digital business, it’s possible to track consumer behaviour closely – “how fast does a customer come in, open the app and get to the video they want to watch? You can see it down to the second, even half-second” – and understand it.
“Everything we do in user experience, everything we do in that interface, is to try and get people to a video they want to watch as quickly as possible,” he said.
To cut down discovery times, Hulu is investing in machine learning to improve its recommendation algorithm, bolstering its curation team, and exploring voice search.
While there’s an immense amount of choice, Freer doesn’t accept the argument that the industry is simply producing “too much content” for the market to cope with.
He believes the growing volume of content is part of a power shift – away from broadcasters and distributors, and into the hands of consumers – hence the need for services like Hulu is to offer convenience, choice and control.
“Shorter term, the customer is winning and is going to win. And that’s the way it should be in television,” he said.
“We’re moving from this gatekeeper mentality. Whether it’s Comcast or Charter or Time Warner or any of the others, where it was a linear aggregated scheduled service, to one based on customer choice, customer options, and their ability to cancel, to re-subscribe, to move from one service to another, and really drive their usage in a way that is much more in their control.”
Sourced from WARC