Hulu Launches Its Own GIF Search Engine

Streaming video service Hulu is today launching its own tool for fans of GIFs, with the debut of its own GIF search engine powered by Tumblr. The new site, dubbed “The Perfect GIF,” isn’t just a standard Tumblr blog, however, but more of customized Tumblr experience where you can search for and discover TV-related GIFs by tag, show, reaction or action involved. The idea behind the new project, it seems, is to help seed social media with high-quality GIFs based on Hulu’s own licensed and original content, then capitalize on those GIFs’ spread to market the Hulu brand to Tumblr’s younger demographic.

Yes, the Hulu GIFs are branded with the hashtag #Hulu as well as the name of the show and its network’s logo, in most cases. That sort of mars the experience for GIF purists who will often apologize when they’ve accidentally GIF’d something that features a network logo or another overlay on top of the GIF they’ve shared to their blog.

That being said, as someone with several Tumblr blogs and a decided lack of GIF’ing expertise, another source for GIFs from favorite shows is still a welcome addition, albeit something of a late one from a site that’s been sitting on a potential GIF goldmine for years. The new site will now serve to complement other GIF resources like the popular (and recently funded) search engine Giphy, plus other easy GIF-making tools like those from YouTube or Imgur, for example.

At launch, Hulu’s site features over 1,400 GIFs from dozens of its top shows across major networks including Fox, NBC, ABC, MTV, Bravo, FX, Showtime, and others, as well as those from classic shows like Cheers, Star Trek, Twin Peaks, The X-Files and more. You can search for GIFs by tag or show title, or you can click to filter the site’s content by Show, Actions, or Reactions.

Explains Hulu, the difference between its offering and those from competing GIF sites is its breadth combined with Hulu’s access to licensed content, which makes for higher-quality GIFs. And it has organized those in a mobile-friendly experience that makes them easy to re-share.

In addition to Tumblr, Hulu’s GIFs can also be posted to Twitter, Pinterest or shared via email. By doing so, you’re agreeing to Hulu’s Terms of Use, however – but it’s fairly standard stuff, noting that you can’t build your own content business of the back of Hulu’s GIFs, nor can you profit from them by using them in things like mashups, wallpaper, desktop themes or other creations.

Largely, the site is a promotional vehicle for Hulu and its content partners, but it still wouldn’t be surprising to start seeing these GIFs start making their way through Tumblr fandoms in the near future. Of course, if Hulu really wants to participate in the TV GIF phenomenon, it will have to keep its library regularly updated with new GIFs from the latest episodes of Hulu shows.

To what extent that will be the case, though, is unclear. (We’ve asked, and will update if Hulu responds.) Hulu says it will add new GIFs to the site within “days or weeks” after new episodes air, depending on the content, and more GIFs are being added to the current selection of shows on a daily basis.