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Hulu Gets More Personal With Recommendations Hub

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Hulu has added another wrinkle to its service to drive more viewership and audience engagement on its site, with the introduction of a recommendations hub to offer its users suggestions for what to watch next. The new hub, which lives next to categories like “Most Popular” and “Recently Added” at the top of the page, will expand on Hulu’s existing recommendations system by providing a one-stop shop for shows and movies that might be relevant to users.

In a blog post Thursday morning, Hulu product manager Peter Sargent wrote:

“For logged-in Hulu users, the recommendations engine takes into account all kinds of factors as it suggests shows that you might enjoy — including videos you’ve watched, commented on, or told us you’ve enjoyed in the past.”

We’ve written a lot about how personalized recommendations are fast becoming the future of content discovery for online viewers. The best example of a company making use of its recommendations engine is Netflix, (s NFLX) which has a highly personalized experience based on which movies a user has watched, rated and commented on, as well feedback generated by the different genres and sub-genres of content that Netflix has classified. With a library of more than 20,000 streaming titles, it has a robust system for recommending long-tail content that its subscribers may not know about.

Providing good recommendations to its users may be one reason that Netflix has been able to lower churn and improve customer satisfaction, as the subscription video service has ranked tops in consumer surveys over the last several years. And Netflix’s recommendations system has certainly been driving viewership from subscribers; Nielsen reports that its subscribers watch an average of 11 hours of video a month, and a recent survey from Whitney Tilson’s T2 Partners found that more than 50 percent of respondents are watching more streaming titles than during their first month.

Hulu is hoping to tap into some of that mojo with its own personalized recommendations system. But to do so, it will need to get recommendations right — otherwise it risks alienating viewers rather than getting them to watch more.

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