Hulu is launching a new user interface — a redesign prompted in part, it admits, because customers have complained that finding new content to watch is harder than accessing the streamer’s “continue watching” features.
A key change in the new Hulu UI is that viewers can now navigate through collections vertically and explore within a collection by moving horizontally. That’s the navigation paradigm used by basically every other streaming service, including corporate siblings Disney Plus and ESPN Plus.
Hulu said the new UI will be available to some customers on Roku and Apple TV devices beginning Wednesday (May 20), rolling out broadly over the next two months. It plans to launch the new interface on additional platforms over the summer.
In another change, content categories like TV, Movies, and Sports are moving to the master navigation menu. That will let customers more easily navigate Hulu’s library of content with fewer clicks, according to Jim Denney, VP of product management, and director of product management Jason Wong.
“We listened to feedback from our viewers and heard they loved how easy it was to continue watching the shows and movies they love, but not as easy to discover new content,” the execs wrote in a blog post about the new UI.
Part of the reason for the Hulu interface update was to provide a generally consistent experience across the trio of Disney’s streaming products. Disney — which last year acquired full control of Hulu in a deal with Comcast — offers a three-way discounted bundle of Hulu with ads, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus for $12.99 monthly (a 28% discount versus $17.97 if bought separately).
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Meanwhile, the redesigned Hulu UI will use the tile size of a TV show or movie as a visual indicator to drive viewers to the most recent additions. For example, new shows or movies “we know you won’t want to miss” will be larger in size, according to Denney and Wong, while “Keep Watching” tiles may be smaller to provide a view of more titles at a glance.
In addition, along with the new UI, Hulu says it will display curated collections (compiled by human editors) in a more personalized way, based on a customer’s viewing patterns. For example, a Hulu viewer who loves medical dramas will see those titles first in a curated drama collection; in that same collection, a fan of romantic dramas would see those prioritized instead.
As of March 28, Hulu had 32.1 million total subscribers (3.3 million on its Live + SVOD tiers), up 27% year over year, according to Disney. However, Hulu’s SVOD average revenue per subscriber dropped 5% from the year prior, to $12.06 per month after it lowered the entry-level package with ads to $5.99 monthly.