Hulu launches user profiles, each with their own recommendations, Watchlist and history

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Hulu today is launching a new feature that will make its service more appealing to those who share their account with other family members: user profiles. Starting today, the TV streaming service will begin to roll out to its more than 12 million subscribers the option to enable profiles. A user account can have up to six individual profiles attached, the company says.

The launch coincides with Hulu’s ongoing efforts to better personalize its user experience in order to make better recommendations of what to watch. On that front, it recently acquired The Video Genome project, which will help it better understand how content is related.

At the time, the company said it had started asking new Hulu users to go through a short questionnaire when they first signed up, so Hulu would understand their particular likes and interests.

Hulu explained this same onboarding experience would roll out to existing customers in time. With user profiles, it now has.

When you create a profile, you’re taken through this taste-picking feature where you tell the service what sort of movies and shows you like. Following this, Hulu will surface more content that matches your interests in its recommendations.

In addition to recommendations, each Hulu user profile will have its own name, personal info, viewing history and Watchlist.

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Hulu is also adding a new Kids profile type that gives parents peace of mind that their little ones won’t run into any mature content when browsing through the available videos. Essentially, this Kids profile is a repurposing of Hulu’s previously launched “Kids” section. But in order to access the “Kids” area before, children still had to navigate through Hulu’s main screen where they might see something unsuitable.

While the update will be welcomed by those who want to be able to better track their own shows and interests, without interference, the bigger goal with profiles are the personalization and recommendation aspects.

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More streaming TV players are arriving all the time — there’s now Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now that will compete with Hulu’s upcoming live TV service. To compete, these services don’t only battle on content availability, but also on features, like the option for a cloud DVR, simultaneous playback on multiple devices and their overall user experience.

Giving Hulu a more Netflix-like feel ahead of the launch of its live TV service can help it take on the newer rivals, while also competing with the existing on-demand players like HBO, Netflix, Amazon and others.

To create, edit or delete profiles, an online dashboard is available at Hulu.com/Account/Profiles.