Hulu Boots Up Personal Experience for Winter Games

Hulu this week has gone live with a new personalized experience/interface for the Winter Olympics from PyeongChang.

Those enhancements, available to Hulu’s live TV subscribers, will tie into NBCUniversal’s expansive coverage of the games, and allow customers to personalize the experience, including an option that lets them select their favorite sports and know when those events will be available for viewing. TechCrunch notes that Hulu has set up a list of individual events with icons representing each one, and users need to just click on a plus sign to follow it on the service.

RELATED: Comcast Builds Winter Olympics Content Hub for TVs, Mobile Devices

Hulu’s experience for the Winter Games, will also offer event replays for many individual events, along with clips and highlights, Ben Smith, Hulu’s senior vice president and head of experience, explained during a demo held last month in Las Vegas in concert with CES.

RELATED: NBC to Broadcast 176 Hours of Olympic Games Coverage

Ahead of the start of the games and the Opening Ceremonies on February 9, Hulu has already set up a preview area with highlights from the Sochi games from 2014, along with background on the team for this 2018 Winer Games, TC added.

He said Hulu is offering this enhancement across all supported platforms for Hulu’s live TV subscribers.

Hulu, which launched its live TV service last May, hasn’t revealed how many subscribers that service has, though CNBC puts it at about 450,000.

Hulu announced last month that it ended 2017 with more than 17 million total subscribers, a number that includes those who subscribe to its SVOD service as well as the live TV offering.

Beyond Hulu’s work around the Winter Games, Smith also discussed other work and enhancements Hulu has introduced or has plans underway for.

"Fundamentally, it’s about having all of your content in one place,” he said, noting that the idea is to not put live TV, recorded content and the SVOD fare into silos.

As for early live TV trends Hulu is seeing, he said usage has been gravitating around sports and news channels, and that TV-connected device viewing has been strong, adding that Hulu’s live TV service tends to “over-index” on the Fire TV platform.

He said there’s also been a “resurgence” of sorts when it comes to viewing of Hulu’s live TV product on web browsers, with a lot of that centered on live sports programming.

Hulu is also testing out a new live guide for the service on TV-connected devices as the company found out that some customers, particularly those transitioning from cable or satellite TV, missed having that option.

Hulu has made that available to a few hundred customers as part of an early beta, and expects to widen its release a bit over the next few weeks, and possibly to all customers by this spring.

While the live guide presents what’s on and what’s coming up, the interface itself must be fast. “This is about utility and speed,” he said.