Advanced Television

Hulu acquires The Video Genome Project technology

November 16, 2016

In a move that it says will dramatically enhance its content recommendations for linear and on-demand video viewing, premium entertainment streaming service Hulu has acquired The Video Genome Project’s contextual attribution technology for an undisclosed sum. The Video Genome Project (The VGP) is recognised as one of the largest, broadest and most granular structured databases of video content.

Through this acquisition, Hulu will combine The VGP’s proprietary technology with its own world-class recommendation engine to create a more powerful way to surface the right content to the right user at the right time, in both live and on-demand environments.

Founded in 2013, The VGP developed an innovative way to automatically aggregate the existing metadata around video content. The technology assigns ‘genes’ to TV shows and movies based on the hundreds of contextual attributes it recognises within the metadata. These video genes are connected together to identify the unique relationships among titles – going far beyond genre, cast, writer or director – and deliver more insightful and relevant recommendations to the viewer.

“The future of television is not just going to be about where and how you watch, it’s going to be about how personal your viewing experience can be,” said Ben Smith, Head of Experience at Hulu. “With this strategic acquisition of The VGP’s technology, we’re gaining important data and personalisation capabilities that will allow us to serve our users even better as we expand into live programming.”

The VGP marks the latest in Hulu’s efforts continuously to enhance its seamless, personalised viewing experience. Seventy-five per cent of all viewing on Hulu is driven by recommended programming, so Hulu has introduced a number of features over the past year to ensure that all touch points on the user interface are personal to each viewer, including their Watchlist, recommendations on the home page and personalised masthead.

“We built The VGP because we always believed that every household deserves the most robust discovery tools, ones that deliver a hyper-personalised video experience that mirrors how the human brain naturally curates content,” said Xavier Kochhar, Founder and CEO of The Video Genome Project. “Given its forward-thinking leadership and true emphasis on content discovery, which we saw in the personal user experience they are building, Hulu really was the obvious choice for us to realise The VGP’s vision.”

The Video Genome Project was backed by venture capital firm Segel Group Limited. Hulu expects to fully incorporate the company’s data into its recommendation system by Q1 2017.

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