How Hulu Should Use My Data

It’s always been a little strange to me that Hulu has profiles. I suppose they’re for people who interact via the comments on videos, but the profiles seem so bland and token. It’s as if someone remembered to add them right before they shipped and then they forgot.

Specifically, the part of Hulu profiles I’m curious about is the “Favorite TV shows” and “Favorite Movies” boxes.

Hulu: don’t you know what my favorite movies and TV shows are?

Hulu should tell me my favorites. Do I ostensibly love The Simpsons but never watch it? (Yes.) Do I watch re-runs of pseudo-crime dramas like Lie To Me whenever they’re available? (Yes.) Have I watched every vampire-related bit of video available? (No. Only Buffy.)

Hulu already does recommendations, but they are surprisingly easy to miss, and seem to be based on watching one particular show or another. They’re not terrible, but when Netflix is willing to spend a million dollars to get some improvement in its recommendation engine, it’s obvious that people are looking for a little more than Hulu is giving at the moment.

I would like to see Hulu become the of TV and film: teach me about myself, and bring that data and recommendations front and center. Put in a “Recommended Channel” and just show me stuff you think I’ll like, based not on a single movie or show, but the whole package, and what other people with similar taste also like. Show me those other people, too, and let me watch a “Neighborhood Channel.”

Go a step further and tell me what other people in my physical area are watching. You ask for my ZIP code: use it for more than marketing stats. If all my neighbors or coworkers are watching a show, maybe it’s worth checking out.

If there are two things people like, it’s being told random facts about themselves, and being told what else to like. Hulu should leverage that.