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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hulu Friends Combines Video Portal w/ Social Network Features

Hulu is now a video portal/social network hybrid.

Today marks the launch of  Hulu-Friends, which allows users to create their own profile and establish a network of friends.hulu friends

According to the Nielsen ratings,  viewership soared 32%  for Hulu, which boasts full-length premium video content, including full-length shows such as The Office from NBC Universal. To keep things in perspective, Youtube still owns a commanding lead of overall views, with 5.2 BILLION views during the same span.

I registered for Hulu's friends network to build a profile for marketingshift. Personal info forms similar to Facebook / Myspace included categories such as favorite movies, favorite books, favorite TV shows and favorite sites. There's also a friend finder, which taps your Facebook, Myspace, and your email accounts.hulu facebook friends

Once you've added friends to your network, you can track their viewing habits and their status through the Hulu Scorecard.Hulu will derive data from each friend interaction to help advertisers target their ads. In today's Wall Street Journal article: Hulu embraces social networking, CEO Jason Kilar said:

The new functions are designed to encourage Hulu users to connect with one another and share their video preferences.If the strategy works, it could increase their viewing, boosting the site's ad revenues.

Killar declined to comment whether Hulu is profitable. He has some tough reasearch ahead if he expects to find an social network with a clear path to profit. Just ask Twitter CEO Evan Williams or Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg about the monetization challenges they face.

Hulu-Friends confirms what we've suspected all along- social networks are expanding  faster than any of us ever could have imagined. Consider these stats from a report this week by Nielsen:

  • One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites.
  • The social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to “Member Community” Web sites globally came from the 35-49 year old age group (+11.3 million).
  • Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking. Nielsen found UK mobile Web users have the greatest propensity to visit a social network through their handset, with 23 percent (2 million people) doing so, compared to 19 percent in the US (10.6 million people). These numbers are a big increase over last year – up 249 percent in the UK and 156 percent in the US.

By Matt O'Hern at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

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