Hulu’s CTO Talks About Their New App and The Decision Not to Have a Traditional Guide


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When Hulu launched its live TV beta, it took a big step by not having anything close to a traditional TV guide. Although it may seem like a small feature, the guide is something many Americans have become used to for the last 30 years.

The new Hulu app has been a topic of much conversation within the cord cutting community. Now the CTO of Hulu, Tian Lim, opens up about the new guide in an interview with FierceCable.

First Tian Lim said that the new UI was not because of the new live TV service but because Hulu was ready for an updated look.

Next Tian Lim was asked “Hulu’s live TV service doesn’t have a traditional content grid. Did it take some convincing to get programmers and broadcasters on board with that?”

Tian Lim answered by saying the following:

It definitely surprised them as we showed them the user interface. A lot of these content agreements and deals with content providers specifically talk about electronic programming guides and, well, we just really didn’t want to have one. Certainly it was jarring to us internally at first as well, until you start realizing the ways in which the EPG has confined your discovery.

If you think about it, the EPG is this massive grid that goes out two weeks into the future, but you’re only seeing a really tiny window of a few channels and a few hours ahead. But by completing repivoting how we present content using richer metadata, we can dramatically drive discovery for things you didn’t even know were on different channels.

For example, the movies collection. For me, that was when it really clicked. Even before we went to private beta, we started using live and upcoming in the movies collection to discovery “Holy cow, there’s so much stuff on FXM, on Freeform, on TBS” that you just didn’t expect. That was truly magical. And then my usage case became, I would go through, add each of them to my stuff, and every weekend I would have a new slate of movies to watch on-demand.

As we discovered different ways to present discovery, we got pretty comfortable with the approach.

The question now is how will this help them stand out against stiff competition from DIRECTV NOW, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and more.

What are your thoughts about the new Hulu app? Do you like the new look and feel? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

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