In its quest to put together a skinny bundle of cable channels, Hulu announced today its acquisition of the assets of The Video Genome Project (VGP), a structured database of video content. Hulu will utilize these assets to bolster its recommendation engine for both upcoming live content as well as its existing on-demand services. (When he announced a live TV service at the NewFronts earlier this year, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said it would be more “intuitive” and “personalized” than traditional television, and improved recommendations are undoubtedly a huge part of this vision).
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hulu said that the integration of VGP is expected to be completed early next year.
“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 Hulu’s head of experience, Ben Smith, in a statement. “We’re gaining important data and personalization capabilities that will allow us to serve our users even better as we expand into live programming.” Hulu added that 75% of its viewership is driven by recommendations. To this end, the company has introduced several new features in recent months, including a personalized Watchlist and masthead, as well as personalized recommendations on users’ home pages.
Founded in 2013, VGP automatically aggregates metadata around video content, and then assigns connective “genes” to TV shows and movies. This enables it to supply recommendations beyond obvious genre, cast, writer, or director similaries, according to a release.
“We built The VGP because we always believed that every household deserves the most robust discovery tools, ones that deliver a hyper-personalized video experience that mirrors how the human brain naturally curates content,” said founder and CEO Xavier Kochha in a statement. The company was formerly backed by venture capital firm Segel Group Limited.