Days after naming its new CEO, Fox Networks Group president Mike Hopkins, Hulu has finally launched free video content for mobile users. But don’t get too excited – it’s just clips, not full-length episodes. And they’re only available for now in the mobile browser, not within the Hulu Plus mobile application.
According to a blog post penned by Senior Product Manager Karan Nischol, mobile users who visit Hulu.com from their device’s web browser will now be taken to a page where Hulu’s editorial team has curated a collection of recent clips from popular shows on the service.
The option to view the clips is one of two on Hulu.com’s updated landing page – the other still directs users to download the Hulu Plus app for access to the full episodes instead. If you choose to “instantly watch top clips,” however, you’re then taken to the ”Trending Now” page, where there are currently clips from shows like Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno, SNL, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, The View, WSJ Live, Grimm, Family Guy, and several others.
You can also dig into clips by genre by selecting a category option from the menu at the top. Here, you can choose to navigate to Trailers, Comedy, Celebrity, News, or Latino sections instead, and Hulu says that more channels are coming in the future. In addition, there’s another option to upgrade to the full “Hulu Plus” experience from this menu.
As you view the clips, you can choose to share them on Facebook, Twitter and via email using small sharing buttons at the bottom.
The way the mobile site is designed is very app-like – it even uses that standard left-side navigation (aka “hamburger” navigation, named for the three stacked lines you tap to reveal the menu, which could resemble a sandwich of sorts). You could easily imagine this interface working in the Hulu Plus app, if the company decided to go the freemium route with clips for logged-out or free users, and full episodes for those who pay. Whether or not Hulu does so, it’s still a notable change for the company to provide any of its content to mobile users, where so much video viewing today now takes place.
We’ve reached out to Hulu with some other questions about this feature, including the number of clips and networks available, as well as other questions regarding its future plans, but have yet to hear back. We’ll update the post with those answers, when or if provided.
Update: Here’s what Hulu said:
The mobile web experience soft-launched earlier this summer for testing purposes, but prior to that, users had only been pointed to a landing page where they could sign up for and download the Hulu Plus app. Today, the company detects mobile users coming form iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Kindle and Nook.
“Tens of thousands” of clips are being made available at launch, from networks including ABC, Fox, NBC, NBC Sports, Bravo, The USA Network and Oxygen. The company has no current plans to offer any full-length content on mobile outside of its premium Hulu Plus application.