Hulu ramps up its personalization efforts, starting with launch of Like / Dislike buttons

Hulu says its working on several product changes to make its service more personalized to viewers. It recently launched an enhanced recommendation engine that now accounts for not just what you watch, but also when. And today, its introducing the first of what will be many more personalization-focused improvements, with the addition of Like and Dislike buttons. These will allow you to give Hulu direct feedback about your interests, the company says.
The new buttons will appear across every piece of content, including on the titles details page right above the plus (+) button where you can add the show or movie to your watchlist (aka My Stuff.)
The buttons will also be accessible on some of the content recommended across Hulus main interface, so you can share your likes and dislikes as youre browsing for something new to watch.
When you like a movie or TV show, Hulu will show you more titles and shows that are similar. And when you Dislike a show or movie, Hulu wont show you that title again.
Hulu ramps up its personalization efforts, starting with launch of Like / Dislike buttons

The latter option, the Dislike, is similar to another feature Hulu had been developing. At its Upfronts presentation last year, Hulu introduced a Stop Suggesting feature that would stop Hulu from recommending a title you didnt want to see. But Stop Suggesting wasnt an explicit signal that you hated something it could mean youve already watched that show elsewhere, for example. It could have meant you liked the show, but didnt want people to know that, because its a little embarrassing like some trashy reality TV. Or it may have just meant you felt neutral about the title in question, but wanted it out of your recommendations to make room for better suggestions.
Hulu says the new Like and Dislike buttons are rolling out today to, Amazon Fire TV devices, XboxOne, Nintendo Switch, select LG, Samsung, and Android TVs, VIZIO SmartCast TVs, and Chromecast, with other devices coming soon.
The buttons are only one of many new features Hulu has in the works.
Its also working on a new, personalized homepage for viewers that will display the most relevant collections for you and order them based on your watch preferences.
The homescreen is an area where Hulu, to be frank, has been lacking in recent years.
For instance, the company said in January it would drop the confusing landing page called Lineup in order to simplify navigation. It then followed through later in the year by doing just that. Lineup had never made much sense to Hulu end users. It wasnt clear if it was some sort of personalized section or a list of things Hulu wanted to promote or some combination of both.
Hulus plans for its revamped homescreen make it sound like it will go more in the direction of Netflix, as it will feature sections dedicated to the users favorite shows and movies, alongside a number of content collections personalized to what that person actually watches. For example, animation fans would see an animation section higher on their page. While those who never watch family movies or kids shows would see a kids content collection ranked much lower.
Hulu ramps up its personalization efforts, starting with launch of Like / Dislike buttons

Hulu said it will also roll out more improvements to its recommendation engine to make the collections it suggests more reflective of what youve watched in the past. And it will refine its suggestions for content thats Up Next.
In addition, an editorial team will work to identify any cant miss items like breaking news or trending shows and place those at the top of the algorithmically-drivenrecommendations,
Finally, Hulu says its working on a better search experience that will be more useful when you typo or misspell things, or if you use common abbreviations like HIMYM for How I Met Your Mother, for example.
The company already tested this with The Handmaids Tale, and was able to identify and correct over 1,500 unique misspellings, it says.
We know that todays connected consumers expect a deeply personalized experience when they watch TV. At Hulu, weve always taken a unique approach to recommendations, said Jason Wong, Director, Product Management at Hulu, in an announcement about the changes. Its a combination of human curation, empowering our viewers, and algorithms that round out the personalized experiences we deliver to Hulu subscribers, he said.
The changes are being introduced ahead of the launches of two highly-anticipated new streaming services, Disney+ (Disney is also the majority owner of Hulu) and Apple TV+. Its unclear how consumers will adapt to the expanded choice in streaming especially with HBO Max and NBCUs streaming service, Peacock, on the horizon. Existing streaming service are enhancing their products in advance of these launches with the hopes of better retaining their viewers. Netflix, for example, recently added a coming soon section to encourage users to stay subscribed.
The new Like / Dislike buttons are arriving starting today, but Hulu didnt give a timeline for the other changes, beyond noting theyre coming soon.
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