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Future of TV Hulu

Let Hulu do the searching for you with their new 'Magic Cube'

By Benjamin Lichtman, Contributor

December 16, 2015 | 4 min read

The online streaming site, Hulu, has been all over the news this year, and for a whole range of reasons.

In business related news, reports surfaced recently that Hulu was in preliminary talks to sell a 25% stake of the company to Time Warner, in a deal that would value Hulu at $5 billion. The deal would make Time Warner an equal partner, joining other major media players: Fox, Disney, and Comcast. For some, the potential move seemed like a major step in attempts to challenge streaming giant, Netflix, which saw tempered growth this year.

Additionally, Seinfeld fans were enthused earlier this year when the site announced it had signed a huge deal to stream all of the show’s episodes. It has since followed up on that move by creating a Seinfeld set replica in New York earlier in the year and one in Los Angeles, which will be open to the public later in December. That move was followed by a change in structure, with the company offering a new type of subscription, which is $4 more per month, but which comes with no commercials.

These major moves are in conjunction with smaller, yet innovative updates, include the brand new Hulu Magic Cube. The Magic Cube is a new feature, available on both web and mobile devices, which “allows Hulu users to find shows to watch by selecting words depending on their mood.” For anyone who has spent any time on a streaming site, the value of a feature such as the Magic Cube is undeniable. While having a huge plethora of shows and movies is a major draw, one can commiserate with the constant and unyielding struggle of actually choosing something to watch. Many of us, including myself, have all had lofty plans to watch something, but then proceed to spend two hours simply browsing the library.

Hulu has mitigated that risk. The Magic Cube allows viewers to search the library via certain buzz words, like zany, silly, quirky, foreign, heartwarming, sketch comedy, and family night, among many others. Or, if you can’t even decide on a type of content, you can have the Magic Cube take itself for a spin, picking a show for you. Once the Magic Cube reveals its choice, users “are able to click on the show art to reveal a synopsis, as well as a button to take them directly to the show page.” Additionally, “users also have the option to share their show suggestion, or the experience as a whole, via their social networks.”

The move follows a long list of others, which show evidence of a potential shift in the streaming world. In addition to the Seinfeld acquisition, Hulu reached a deal with AMC, which includes the rights to a “Walking Dead” spinoff, along with major investments in original programming, like 11.22.63 (based on the astonishing Stephen King novel), starring James Franco, which premiers in February.

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