Hulu is introducing a wave of updates to its experience for mobile devices and web browsers to help meet the evolving needs and lifestyles of subscribers who view TV shows and movies on the go.
The updated experience have been optimized for smartphones and the web amid an increase in mobile viewing of both live TV and on-demand fare.
Though 78% of Hulu viewing is on connected-TV devices, a “strong cohort” of mobile-primary users has also emerged, Ben Smith, SVP and head of experience at Hulu, noted during an interview during this week’s Pay TV Show in Denver. He said mobile viewing on Hulu has increased 84% year-on-year.
Among the updates and changes, outlined in this blog post from VP of product Richard Irving, Hulu is providing direct access to its live TV product via a lightning bolt icon that’s accessible on the navigation bar as well as a dynamic live TV guide.
Hulu has also added a portrait player that lets users view the channel guide and switch between channels without leaving the content itself. When VOD content is being viewed in portrait mode, Hulu also provides recommendations on what to watch next.
The new mobile-optimized UI has also added some enhanced “scrubbing” capabilities that let users navigate more easily through the content and show a preview of the video frame.
Hulu, which recently passed 20 million subscribers (a number that includes both its live TV and SVOD customers), has also added features that provide more control of recommendations, including “Stop Suggesting” and a “Remove” from Watch History feature.
Among other additions, Hulu has added HDMI support to iOS for customers who like to link their mobile device to the TV, and enhancements that deliver the fuller navigation experience on iOS and Android smartphones that are delivering Hulu to the TV in tandem with a Chromecast streaming adapter.
Hulu is also set to bring its new, optimized platform for desktop browsers to live TV subscribers starting on May 22, with SVOD-only customers getting access to it throughout the summer.
Hulu said the new features will start to roll out to Android and iOS next week.
Smith said this marks the biggest set of changes Hulu has made since the company introduced its next-gen experience on May 3, 2017 – also the date when Hulu launched its new live TV service in beta form.